31 October 2005
Over a quarter of pensioners across Edinburgh missing out on pension credit
John Barrett, Liberal Democrat MP for Edinburgh West, today called on the Government to admit the failure of the Pension Credit system after shocking new figures revealed that over a quarter of eligible pensioners across Edinburgh are still failing to receive any money.
New figures uncovered by Mr Barrett on the take-up of the Pension Credit show that an estimated 6950 (25%) of eligible pensioners across Edinburgh are missing out on money they are entitled to receive.
John Barrett said:
"It is a scandal that so many poorer older people are missing out on money they should be getting as of right. For over a quarter of Edinburgh pensioners to be missing out on money that is rightfully theirs is simply unacceptable.
“It seems that hardly a week goes by without the release of yet more figures showing the appalling state of our pension system. The Government must now accept that their obsession with the degrading means testing of pensioners has failed on a massive scale.
“Despite all the Government promotions and all their advertising, the take-up of Pension Credit in Edinburgh and throughout the country is still abysmal. Not only is this depriving many pensioners of a better quality of life but this scandal represents a loss to the Edinburgh economy of as much as £300,000.
“The Department of Work & Pensions must now look seriously at introducing a substantial increase in the state pension, with extra help for older pensioners who tend to be the poorest. That way, we can ensure all pensioners get a better deal from the state in their retirement.
"I will continue to push the Government for a fairer state pension that will allow our senior citizens the dignity and respect in retirement that they deserve.”
The Pension Credit is a means-tested benefit for people over 60 with low incomes. It ensures that an individual doesn’t live on less than £109.45 a week, and a couple on less than £167.05 a week.
Calls to the Pension Credit application line are freephone: 0800 99 1234. Lines are open Monday to Friday between 8am - 8pm and Saturdays 9am - 1pm.
The figures were published by the Department for Work and Pensions on 20th October. The most recent figures do not appear to have been made available on the website yet (http://www.dwp.gov.uk/asd/pcpc.asp) but they can be emailed on request.
The estimate of how many pensioners are missing out applies the national non-take up rate of 34.2% to the local figures. Nationally, the Government estimates that 5 million pensioners are eligible for Pension Credit. With only 3,291,250 in receipt that means that nationally, 1.7 million pensioners are missing out.
The estimate of how much the local economy is missing out on is estimated from the number of people missing out locally times the average payment for pensioners in the area who do receive the Pension Credit.
|Constituency||Total number of individual beneficiaries||Average weekly amount in payment||Number estimated to be entitled but not claiming||Potential loss to local economy|
|Edinburgh East||5,205||£ 45.44||1,780||£ 80,880|
|Edinburgh North and Leith||4,120||£ 44.80||1,409||£ 63,130|
|Edinburgh South||3,245||£ 43.03||1,110||£ 47,759|
|Edinburgh South West||3,795||£ 42.95||1,298||£ 55,741|
|Edinburgh West||3,955||£ 39.77||1,353||£ 53,788|
Total Number of individual beneficiaries in Edinburgh = 20,320
Total number estimated to be entitled but not claiming in Edinburgh = 6,950
Therefore total number of estimated eligible pensioners in Edinburgh = 27,270
(6,950 / 27,270) x 100 = 25.486
Therefore 25% of eligible Edinburgh pensioners are not receiving tax credits.