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Fuels: Prices

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN 128262, tabled on 23 February 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what steps she is taking to help ensure that rising cost of fuels prices does not lead to an increase in levels of pensioner poverty.

Answered on

2 March 2022

We have a comprehensive package of measures to help pensioners. The State Pension is the foundation of support for older people, and the value of it has been steadily increasing since 2010.

From April, subject to Parliamentary approval, the full yearly amount of the basic State Pension will be around £720 more in 2022/23 than if it had been up-rated by prices since 2010; a rise of over £2,300 in cash terms. Over the last two years the basic and new State Pension has increased by over 5.6%.

In addition, around 1.4 million eligible pensioners across Great Britain receive around £5 billion annually in Pension Credit, which tops up their retirement income and act as a passport to other financial help, such as support with housing costs, council tax, heating bills and a free TV licence for those over 75.

The overall trend in the percentage of pensioners living in poverty shows a significant fall over recent decades and there are 200,000 fewer pensioners in absolute poverty (both before and after housing costs) than in 2009/10.

Customers of State Pension age are also entitled to an annual winter fuel payment worth up to £300. Cold weather payments and the warm home discount may also be paid to those in receipt of Pension Credit.

Further support for pensioners includes free eye tests and NHS prescriptions worth around £900m every year and free bus passes worth £1bn every year.

The Chancellor’s announcement on 3 February of a package of support to help households with rising energy bills, worth £9.1 billion in 2022-23, will also be available to eligible pensioners. The devolved administrations are receiving around £715 million funding through the Barnett formula.