Rachel Reeves – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Department for Work and Pensions

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Rachel Reeves on 2016-01-20.

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, what recent estimate he has made of the cost of reinstating the qualifying age for pension credit to its 1995 timetable.

Justin Tomlinson

Pension Credit was designed to provide income related support for people without sufficient provision for their retirement and as such the qualifying age for both men and women has been linked to women’s State Pension age since its introduction.

Our initial estimates of the cost of retaining the 1995 timetable for the qualifying age for Pension Credit were published in response to a question from Lord Boswell in 2011 Hansard vol. 725, column 1607, 9 March 2011.

We have not formally updated this costing but we have reconsidered the evidence based on the latest information and our analysis indicates that the cost of breaking the link between the Pension Credit qualifying age and women’s State Pension age is likely to be significantly higher than previously estimated for a number of reasons including:

– Women under State Pension age would be entitled to larger amounts of Pension Credit than the original analysis assumed.

– This may incentivise more women to stop working and claim Pension Credit instead.

In addition to the impacts considered above there would also be increased expenditure on other benefits, most notably Housing Benefit, localised Council Tax Support, the Warm Home Discount and Cold Weather Payments which were not included in the original figures.