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TUC: Women have half the pensions of men

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01/03/2016
Ethnic minority workers, carers and the self-employed are also ‘under-pensioned’, the TUC report found.

Women have barely half the pension savings of men, according to a report published by the TUC.

The study, carried out by the Pensions Policy Institute, shows that women have, on average, £7,500 in savings in defined contribution (DC) schemes, compared to £14,500 for men.

And women typically have £32,000 in pension savings in defined benefit (DB) schemes, whereas men have £62,900.

The report, The Under-pensioned 2016, revealed large pension disadvantages for women, ethnic minority workers, carers and the self-employed.

The findings show:

  • Women – As well as having barely half the pension savings of men, women also receive a far smaller state pension. Women receive 13% (£1,092) a year less than the average State Pension and 25% (£2,548) a year less than men get from their state pensions.
  • Carers – Carers typically have just £5,800 in savings in defined contribution schemes – 44.8% below average. And carers have only £6,000 amassed in defined benefit schemes – a massive 86.2% below average.
  • Black and minority ethnic workers –An Indian worker typically has less than half (£22,100) the defined benefit pension savings of a white worker (£45,500). Black pensioners receive 16% (£1,404) less than the average for all pensioners and 20% (£1,820) less than white pensioners in State Pension.
  • Self-employed– Self-employed workers typically have 4.8% less in defined contribution savings and 12.7% in defined benefit savings than average pensioners.

The report said reasons for the disparities include workplace discrimination, job segregation and the lack of flexible working.

It warned that despite recent changes to state and workplace pensions, these stark divisions will remain unless the government takes further action.

It stated that workers from underpensioned groups are less likely to be eligible for auto-enrolment into workplace pensions than the wider population, typically because their wages are too low.

Workers must be earning a salary of at least £10,000 a year to qualify for auto-enrolment.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Today’s report is a sobering reminder of Britain’s stark pension divide.

“Everyone should have the chance of a decent retirement income, not just men in full-time employment.

“Women, carers and ethnic minority workers will continue to have a tough time in old age if swift action is not taken.

“We urgently need a debate on how unions, government and employers can work together to can build on the success of auto-enrolment. And we mustn’t shy away from looking at the underlying problems in our labour market that are driving these inequalities in pension saving.”

Flat-rate state pension set at £155 a week

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