Up to 1.6 million eligible pensioners are still not in receipt of pension credit, therefore £2.1billion is left unclaimed. Take-up of Housing and Council Tax benefits are also declining. And I am sure Gordon Brown is laughing all the way to No. 10 thinking of the savings and inviting his private equity pals around for drinkies.
One of the many reasons for the lack of take-up is probably due to the bureaucratic, unhelpful and complex nature of the benefits system. There’s also a lack of information, support and encouragement. Therefore this becomes a massive obstacle and disincentive for pensioners to apply or indeed anyone else who is entitled to benefits. And what is worse pension credit and many other benefits are means tested.
With the current attacks on welfare there has been the stoking of the flames perpetuated by New Labour with negative stereotypes of claimants ("feckless poor") and this will have a severe impact as it will scare, distress and ultimately deter people from applying for benefits they have every right to claim.
New Labour tackling poverty? Who are they trying to kid...