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Pensioners: Government Assistance

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 72589, tabled on 9 November 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what plans her Department has to provide additional financial support to pensioners during winter 2021-22.

Answered on

16 November 2021

Last year despite negative earnings growth and low inflation of 0.5% the Government took action to provide vital peace of mind to pensioners regarding their financial security. Consequently, the basic and new State Pension rates were increased in April 2021 by 2.5% meaning the full yearly basic State Pension is over £2,050 a year higher than in 2010, in cash terms. In addition, the Pension Credit Standard Minimum Guarantee was also increased to match the cash equivalent in the basic State Pension. Pension Credit remains a vital support to pensioners on a low income.

We recognise that some people may require extra support over the winter as we enter the final stages of recovery, which is why vulnerable households across the country will now be able to access a new £500 million support fund to help them with essentials. The Household Support Fund will provide £421 million to help vulnerable people in England. The Barnett Formula will apply in the usual way, with the devolved administrations receiving almost £80 million (£41m for the Scottish Government, £25m for the Welsh Government and £14m for the NI Executive), for a total of £500 million.

Councils have the discretion and flexibility to develop a local delivery approach that best fits the scheme’s objectives, with support primarily used to support households in the most need with food, energy, fuel, digital and water bills. Up to 50% of the fund is available for councils to use on households without children, including those of state pension age.

In addition, we will continue to support pensioners by making winter fuel payments of £200 to those households with someone of state pension age and under 80 and £300 to those households with someone aged 80 or over. Cold weather payments are also available to those in receipt of Pension Credit.

The Warm Home Discount Scheme operated by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy ensures that those in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit receive a rebate of £140 on their energy bill.