Pension windfall: 5% rise and £60 Christmas bonus

25 November 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
Pensioners are set to benefit from the £20billion 'fiscal stimulus' plans announced in the Chancellor's pre-Budget report yesterday.

The report, which focussed on jump starting the economy through VAT cuts, laid down several new benefits for British pensioners.

The first of which will see Pension Credit rise from £124 to £130 a week for individuals over 60, and £189 to £198 a week for couples over 60.

The move is the biggest increase in Pension Credit since it began in 2003 and will come into effect in April. And, on top of this, the Chancellor announced that the basic State Pension will also increase.

Speaking yesterday, Mr Darling confirmed that State Pensions will increased in line with the highest rate of inflation this year pushing it from £90.70 to £95.25 a week for single pensioners, up from £61 in 1996/7.

The income increase will come into effect as soon as possible, as the Chancellor commented: "I don't want people to have to wait for this money. I want them to get it as quickly as possible. This will benefit them and benefit the economy."

When it comes to energy help for pensioners, the Warm Front scheme will receive a £50billion boost, while Winter Fuel Payments continue to offer financial help for Brits of pension age.

However, from January, the Chancellor announced that pensioners will get a one-off payment of £60, on top of the £10 Christmas bonus already in place. This measure will also go to children with disabilities, and in total, 15 million pensioners and children will gain from the beginning of next year.

However, more action is required, according to Gordon Lishman, director general at Age Concern, who, commenting on the moves to help the UK's pensioners, said: "A one-off payment of £60 in the New Year is very welcome, as is the commitment to increase Pension Credit in line with inflation. But the extra benefit won't reach the millions of pensioners who are still missing out on the benefits they're entitled to.

"A high profile Government campaign is urgently needed to get the £5billion in unclaimed benefits cash to all those entitled, with a view to moving towards a system where money benefits are paid automatically."

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