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2010 National Women's Conference
22 October 2009

This Conference notes with alarm the increasing and unwarranted attacks on public sector pensions.

Whilst it is true to say that a growing gap between public and private sector pensions caused by the employer retreat from decent pensions in the private sector, it is wrong to conclude that the answer is to level down public sector pensions.

More women than ever are in the workforce, just under half are in part time employment, compared with nine per cent of men. Many part time jobs do not bring access to good occupational pension schemes and the latest figures show that over thirteen million are failing to save enough for retirement, the majority women.

A recent survey showed that two thirds of women work in public sector. The remainder are likely to be outside proper pension provision, in employment fields such as healthcare, distribution, hotels and catering. In contrast, men’s employment is generally spread over the industrial sectors, where pension provision is stronger.

Research highlights the barriers preventing women from saving. Seventy eight per cent say that they have little or no disposable income to enable them to save for retirement, coupled with the far that the savings will not generate sufficient income in retirement. Consequently, income for women is so low that sixty five per cent are reliant on the Pension Credit.

The TUC said in a new briefing that the majority of public sector pensioners receive a pension of less than five thousand pounds a year and that half the women on NHS pensions receive less than three thousand five hundred pounds annually.

This conference, therefore calls on the National Women’s Committee to:

1)Highlight to women the myths on pensions perpetuated by the Tories and big business.

2)Continue to lobby the Government for improved pension provision for women.