Gender Pension Gap

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2021 Virtual Retired Members Conference
11 June 2021

Conference notes that in 2018/19, the United Kingdom’s (UK’s) gender pension gap – the percentage difference in average gross pension income of women pensioners compared to men – stood at 40.3%.

Conference also notes this was the second year running the gap had widened. An earlier trend of gradually diminishing pension inequality appears to have ended.

Conference believes that the main causes of the gender pension gap are:

1)The UK’s inadequate state pension and over-reliance on occupational and private pension saving which disadvantage women owing to:

(a) The cumulative lifetime impact of the gender pay gap; and,

(b) Parental and caring responsibilities which lead many women to take time off work, reduce their hours and/or retire early;

2. The concentration of women in jobs paying under £10,000 a year, excluding them from automatic enrolment in a pension scheme; and,

3. Gender inequality embedded in the state pension which, although addressed in the Pension Act 2014, will only come fully into effect for those reaching state pension age from the 2040s.

Conference instructs the National Retired Members’ Committee, seeking the support of the National Executive Council as need be to campaign for:

i)An increase in the state pension great enough to remove the need for pension credit;

ii)Early reform of automatic enrolment, in particular, to reduce the earnings trigger and the age threshold, to increase employers’ contributions and to set up an independent commission to keep these under review;

iii)A review of National Insurance Credits with a view to extending credits to everybody who is not working but who is undertaking a parental or caring responsibility; and,

iv)Steps to ensure that everybody whose income is too low to pay income tax nevertheless gets a government contribution to their pension saving.