UK - The UK government says its wants to encourage the maximum take up of the new pensions credit which replaces the minimum income guarantee (MIG) in October.

The pensions credit has been developed as a cheaper alternative to raising the basic state pension in line with earnings. It pays pensioners with occupational pensions and savings 60 pence for every 1 pound saved up to a maximum of £14.79 a week for a single person and £19.20 a week for a couple. The government estimates it will give 400 pounds extra per annum to 50% of pensioner households.

However, consumer organisations fear that take-up will be low. In an earlier study in Jan 2002 Department of Work and Pensions assumed 67% would take-up in first year of operation.

Andrew Smith, secretary of State, said that over 1.1m pensioners are set to be paid from October 2003. "Pensioners receiving MIG are already being transferred automatically to pension credit and we are on course to have completed the transfer of those 1.8 million cases by October.”

He said that all pensioner households not currently receiving MIG will be contacted by letter inviting them to apply. The government is also running an advertising campaign from September to make pensioners, their families and friends aware of their entitlement.

" I am confident that the work we are doing combined with the work of partner organisations, will help us to ensure that as many pensioners as possible get what is rightfully theirs,” said Smith.