Calls to boost State Pension six months early to help older people next winter


Rishi Sunak should increase State Pensions six months early to give older people a “fighting chance to actually get through next winter”, according to a Conservative MP.

Nigel Mills urged the Chancellor to use Wednesday’s Spring Statement to give assurances that he is prepared to act earlier if necessary so people have more pounds in their pocket ahead of next winter rather than having to wait until April 2023. MPs were told this could include giving people some of their expected 2023 State Pension increase in October 2022.

A 3.1% rise from April will see the basic State Pension increase to £141.85 per week and the full rate of the new State Pension rise to £185.15 per week.

However, critics have argued the change, using the September Consumer Prices Index (CPI) measure of inflation, amounts to a real terms cut when set against rising living costs.

Mr Mills, a member of the Work and Pensions Committee, told the Commons: “It’s clear that for people living on a fixed income, like a pension, with no prospect to earn any more, a State Pension rise of 3% is not going to be enough to get them all the way through until April 2023.

“The [UK] Government is going to have to find a way of doing more to help people over the next 15 months otherwise they simply won’t be able to make ends meet.”

On Pension Credit, Mr Mills said there is a need to make sure people entitled to it are receiving it – and said the UK Government should set a target to make progress on achieving this aim.

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He also said the UK Government should look at giving people on the pension more income before April 2023.

Mr Mills, MP for Amber Valley, said: “I’m not convinced the rise in bills is going to be a short-term six-month problem.

“We all wish it was but that’ll probably require a change of regime in Russia and a new friendly democratic, free regime that we’d have no sanctions on and therefore have free access to their gas at the same price we currently have.

“I think that is for the birds as an assumption. The Government needs to have a different plan.

“My suggestion to them, on the basis that they probably can’t now increase the pension by more in April, is if inflation is still running at this level in October do a half yearly pension increase – maybe half of what’s forecast for next April , give people something a bit more on their pension upfront by six months.”

Nigel Mills MP said the next State Pension pay rise should be made in October 2022 and not April next year.
Nigel Mills MP said the next State Pension pay rise should be made in October 2022 and not April next year.

He added: “If they’re going to get 8% next April because their energy bills and their food bills have shot up before next winter, give them some or all of that rise before next winter so they’ve got a fighting chance to actually get through next winter.

“I think that would be a simple thing for the [UK] Government to do.”

Mr Mills said a decision would need to be taken soon to implement his idea, adding: “I’d urge the Chancellor in the Spring Statement to say to pensioners we understand how hard this will be for them, if this problem persists before next year we will give you some extra money through a state pension rise of a few more per cent to give you a bit more money so you don’t have to be saving and penny-pinching, you will have enough to heat and eat through next winter , we will find a way to do that.

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“And I’d urge the Chancellor to do that on Wednesday.”

His comments came during a Labour-led debate on the cost of living increases for pensioners.

What is Pension Credit?

Pension credit is an income-related benefit aimed at people living in the UK over State Pension age.

It offers older people a weekly top-up to their income – you can also choose to be paid fortnightly or every four weeks.

It’s available to single pensioners, including widows and widowers, as well as couples.

To use the calculator, you’ll need details of:

You’ll need the same details for your partner if you have one.

Who cannot use the Pension Credit calculator?

You cannot use the calculator if you or your partner:

  • are deferring your State Pension

  • own more than one property

  • are self employed

  • have housing costs (such as service charges or Crown Tenant rent) which are neither mortgage repayments nor rent covered by Housing Benefit

How to make a claim

You can start your application up to four months before you reach State Pension age.

You can claim any time after you reach State Pension age but your claim can only be backdated for three months.

This means you can get up to three months of Pension Credit in your first payment if you were eligible during that time.

You will need:

  • your National Insurance number

  • information about your income, savings and investments

  • your bank account details, if you’re applying by phone or by post

If you’re backdating your claim, you’ll need details of your income, savings and investments on the date you want your claim to start.

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apply online

You can use the online service if:

To check your entitlement, phone the Pension Credit helpline on 0800 99 1234 or use the GOV.UK Pension Credit calculator here to find out how much you could get.

To keep up to date with the latest State Pension news, join our Money Saving Scotland Facebook group here, follow Record Money on Twitter hereor subscribe to our twice weekly newsletter here.


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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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