Conservative shadow Minister for Welfare Reform David Ruffley says: 'Pension Credit overpayments to pensioners have more than trebled in the last 3 years. Pensioners face clawback by Ministers.'

Friday, 10 March, 2006

David Ruffley said:

'These figures show that Pension Credit overpayment has trebled in the last three years - from £40 million in 2001/02, to £50 million in 2002/03, £100 million in 2003/04 and now £130 in 2004/05.

'This is 2.1% of Pension Credit payments.

'Many elderly claimants potentially face a clawback of overpaid money. Government rules say 'Repayment may be waived if it would cause hardship, but hardship must not be confused with inconvenience.' (see note 2 below)

'This Government has got form when it comes to clawing back overpayments. Ministerial incompetence brought us the shambles of tax credit overpayments.

'These new figures showing a trebling of overpayments prove that Ministers are running the Pension Credit system incompetently. Pensioners face the prospect of being rung up by the Department for Work and Pensions asking for its money back. The Government needs to explain why overpayments have trebled and give reassurances to affected pensioners that they will not be harassed and treated insensitively by Government officials.'