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“Help the Aged states that 4.5 million pensioners who are entitled to means-tested benefit are not getting it, simply because it is so complicated to apply for it. What can the Government do to ensure that people who are not entitled to benefits do not get them, while at the same time ensuring that weak, elderly, vulnerable people who are entitled to such benefits can receive them easily and promptly?”The Labour MP for Doncaster Central hit back, suggesting the Government were tackling the issue with more vigour than a Conservative Government would have done. She said:
“We are now spending £13 billion more than we would have been spending had we pursued the policies of the previous Administration, and we are particularly targeting that extra spending on the most vulnerable pensioners. Problems with the take-up of benefits apply often not just to pension credit but to housing and council tax benefits, for which people do not necessarily apply, and that is why we have made a key change so that, from October, by making one telephone call pensioners will be able to get not only their basic state pension credit but council tax and housing benefits. That will make things simpler.”