§ Angela Eagle
[holding answer 19 October 1998]: To extend Widow's Benefit to new and existing widowers would generate a gross cost of about £300 million and a net cost of about £250 million once means-tested benefit and tax credit offsets have been taken into account.265W
1. The gross costs have been provided by the Government Actuary's Department and assume that benefits are paid on the basis of the wife's contribution record.
2. Means-tested benefit and tax credit offsets were calculated using the 1995–96 Family Resources Survey and the May 1996 Income Support Quarterly Statistical Enquiry.
3. Estimates are in 1998–99 benefit rates and are rounded to the nearest £50 million, although are not necessarily accurate to that degree.
4. The estimate assumes no behavioural changes.
§ Angela Eagle
[holding answer 19 October 1998]: The information is set out in the tables.
The estimated number of new claims for widow's payment and new awards of widow's pension and widowed mother's allowancein 1997–98 Lump sum (claims) Widow's Payment 45,000 Ongoing weekly benefits (awards) Widow's Pension 23,000 Widowed Mother's Allowance 7,000
1. Widow's Payment information provided by Benefits Agency's Management Information System
2. Ongoing weekly benefit information provided by a 5 per cent. sample taken from the Pensions Strategy Computer System
3. Estimates are rounded to the nearest 1,000
4. Estimates for Widow's Payment relate to claims made; a small number of claims may not be awarded a payment. Estimates for the ongoing weekly benefits relate to actual awards
It is estimated that by 2020–21 annual gross savings of the order shown in the table below would accrue from abolishing Widow's Payment, Widowed Mother's Allowance and Widow's Pension for new claimants.
Lump sum Lump sum £ million Widow's Payment 50 Weekly ongoing benefits (i) Basic Element: Widow's Pension 700 Widowed Mother's Allowance 100 (ii) Additional Pension element 150
1. Estimates provided by the Government Actuary's Department
2. Estimates are in 1998–99 benefit rates and is rounded to the nearest £50 million. Long term estimates of this kind are uncertain and subject to demographic variation
3. The answer estimates the savings on Widow's Benefits alone; it does not take account of subsequent savings from Retirement Pension paid to widows who were bereaved whilst they were under State Pension Age
4. The estimate takes account of the equalisation of State Pension Age between 2010 and 2020266W