§ The Minister for Pensions (Malcolm Wicks)
I can now provide the latest monthly progress report on the take-up of pension credit, which became payable on 6 October 2003.
At the end of July, there were 2.58 million pensioner households (3.13 million individuals) being paid pension credit, an increase of 33,000 households (40,000 individuals) during July. As at 31 July, there were 1.92 million households (2.33 million individuals) receiving more money as a result of the introduction of pension credit, gaining by an average £16.02 a week. The average pension credit award at the end of July was £41.80 per week.
Customers whose applications are successful in the period up to October this year will have their entitlement backdated to 6 October 2003 (or to the date of entitlement if this is later). The 2004 Budget statement confirmed that backdating arrangements will continue beyond October 2004. This means that anyone eligible applying after October 2004 will see their entitlement backdated by up to 12 months. A report showing progress to the end of July is available in the Library. The report includes regional breakdowns of the number of pension credit households and is accompanied by tables showing numbers of pension credit awards in parliamentary constituencies in Great Britain. Copies of the report are also available for hon. Members in the Vote Office.