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Annie Hayes

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Tackling the pensions gender gap

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Tackling the pensions gap between men and women isn’t just about reforming state provision, it’s also about tackling the savings culture say ministers.

With just 30 per cent of women retiring on a full state pension, compared to 85 per cent of men, the government has pledged to recognise caring contributions.

But working women are still saving significantly less than men. Two thirds who have no private pension at all risk becoming dependent upon the state in retirement.

Minister for women Meg Munn said: “Women who are not saving could see the independence they currently enjoy replaced with financial dependence on the state in retirement. This is a situation most will not want to find themselves in and must be addressed.”

James Purnell, minister for pension reform, said: “Half of all women stop saving for retirement when they have children. Our reforms recognise this caring role with a new contributory principle – making the state pension system fairer for women and carers who take time away from employment to raise children or look after others.

“But, most people would expect to have more than just a state pension in retirement. The worrying reality is that if women don’t make their own saving a priority, they could find themselves worse off in retirement than they expect.”

Only 38 per cent of women contribute to a private pension compared to 46 per cent of men. Those that have a private pension contribute significantly less than men – men dominate the groups contributing £200 or more each month, whereas women are more likely to contribute less than £100 per month.

But the ministers accept there are unanswered questions over barriers to saving – the public can contribute their views at: http://www.dwp.gov.uk/pensionsreform/forum/

Meanwhile, in its quarterly inflation report, the Bank of England has said that UK employers are spending more on National Insurance and pension deficits than ever before.

But increasing pension costs mean employers have less money to spend on salaries.

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Annie Hayes

Editor

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