§ Paul Flynn
To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what comparison has been made in take up rates for pension credit between rural and urban areas; and what causes he ascribes to the lower rate of increase in claims for pension credit in inner city areas in comparison to other areas. 
§ Malcolm Wicks
It is not possible to provide detailed comparisons of levels of pension credit take-up between rural and urban areas, since estimates of numbers of households eligible for pension credit are not available at any level below that of Government office region. However, the information in the table shows the level of increase in numbers of households receiving pension credit as at 31 March 2004 over numbers receiving the minimum income guarantee (MIG) as at 3 October 2003, for local authorities classified as either 'rural' or `not rural'. This suggests that overall rates of increase in `not rural' areas are in general lower than in their rural counterparts. Overall, there has been an increase of 31 per cent. in the number of households receiving pension credit over those receiving MIG and an increase of 37 per cent. in the area including Newport, West.
More detailed analysis of pension credit take-up levels is being carried out.1375W
Comparison of rate of increase between rural and not rural MIG and pension credit household levels as at 31 March 2004 Total Number local authorities M1G households October Pension credit households March Household increase Percentage increase Total 45 140,420 202,914 62,494 45 Wales Not rural 13 70,470 94,385 23,915 34 Rural 9 34,865 47,141 12,276 35 Total 22 105,335 141,526 36,191 34 West Midlands Not rural 21 159,345 207,150 47,805 30 Rural 14 29,920 42,182 12,262 41 Total 34 189,265 249,331 60,066 32 Yorks and Humber Not rural 12 143,065 189,938 46,873 33 Rural 9 28,575 40,556 11,981 42 Total 21 171,640 230,494 58,854 34