Female pension Pots Continue to Decrease

Labour Party

In February I wrote about how women are penalised with smaller pension pots because of the disparity in pay they throughout their working lives. This was backed up by research from the Office of National Statistics (ONS) which stated women earn less which in turn means they are able to contribute less to a pension pot.

And research published last week found women retiring this year will receive the lowest annual pension income since 2008, and receive £6,500 less than men, a report suggests.

The research found that the disparity in men as women’s annual income post retirement has actually increased by £750 since 2012.

The annual survey conducted by Prudential revealed average income for women is 64% that of men’s. It also found that women’s annual income after retirement is on average less than two-thirds (64 per cent) that of men.

This isn’t all. The situation is serious because following a high point in 2009 women’s pensions has entered a steady decline of £500 each year. Men meanwhile have enjoyed an increase this year with an increase of their income of £250 (on average).

It is well documented that the economic downturn has had a significant impact on female earning capability and this has led more women to take on part-time roles in order to still be able to contribute; but the obvious consequence has meant women have not been able to contribute as much as they would like towards their pension pot. Essentially women put family needs before their own.

The introduction of auto enrolment, where employers are obliged to enter all employees into a pension scheme may help alleviate the problem a little. However, in reality, and as a spokesperson for Prudential pointed out when interviewed by the Times newspaper on this subject last week, the gulf in retirement incomes has grown and it’s continuing to do so. The spokesperson predicted the gap would not disappear “for years to come”.

The Government promises the controversial single tier pension scheme will benefit women, but the above indicates significant and very worrying problems in the short to medium term and possibly beyond that.

Honeyball’s Weekly Round-Up

Labour Party

Conservative and Liberal-Democrat politicians were quick to deflect attention from their controversial pension’s plans last week by goading all those public sector workers. Ministers couldn’t act quickly enough to condemn those who plan to strike for the inevitable disruption it will cause.

It will be an autumn of discontent, and this is largely because the government has announced the cuts to public services pensions before completing its discussions with unions. therefore forcing them into action.

Last week Danny Alexander said the plan was to protect public sector workers for the long term. In a speech in London he said the proposals were “not an assault” on pensions and accused some unions of spreading “scare stories” about government plans.

He said a small group of unions were “hell bent on premature strike action”. I find this line deeply inflammatory and I’m certain that it will only serve to fan the flames of the already angry unions who rightly feel they are still in the middle of negotiations. You can read more on last week’s story here.

I blogged on the interview Harriet Harman gave in last week’s Guardian in which she highlighted how poorly the Tories are on the equality agenda, something which she has fought so hard to achieve but for which she gets little recognition. She said in the interview “You can’t leave equality to the Tories”, it’s a brilliant quote which frankly sums it all up. Harriet, as ever, remains true to her mission to boost women’s rights. You can read the full interview here, and more on my earlier blog here.

Despite her efforts, internationally we have some way to go. Targeted violence against female public officials, dismal healthcare and desperate poverty make Afghanistan the world’s most dangerous country in which to be born a woman, according to a global survey released on Wednesday.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Pakistan, India and Somalia feature in descending order after Afghanistan in the list of the five worst states, the poll among gender experts shows.

The disappointing survey has been compiled by the Thomson Reuters Foundation to mark the launch of a website, TrustLaw Woman, aimed at providing free legal advice for women’s groups around the world. You can read the full report and findings here.