Barbara has welcomed the announcement by the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions that the pension system will be reformed to offer a fairer deal to women and carers.
Last week the Government proposed an amendment to the Pensions Bill to allow people to buy up to six additional years of voluntary National Insurance contributions in order to enjoy a higher state pension on retirement. This change will benefit thousands of women who traditionally have incomplete National Insurance records and therefore often receive a lower state pension.
The Government will also reduce the number of qualifying years needed for a full basic State Pension to 30 for both men and women. Currently women must make National Insurance contributions for 39 years before qualifying and men for 44 years.
“I am very pleased with the proposed changes to the pensions system, which mean that hundreds of thousands more women will be able to claim a full state pension. At present 90 per cent of men qualify for the full state pension, whereas only 35 percent of women qualify, mostly due to the time they take out of paid employment to raise children and to care for family members.
“This change will bring greater equality into the pensions system. It means that by 2010 around 75 percent of women reaching State Pension Age will be entitled to a full Basic State Pension, rising to over 90 per cent of women by 2025.
“This change shows the Government recognises the potential disadvantages faced by those who do not have a full work history, mostly women and those with caring responsibilities, and is willing to take action. I believe this is a fair, affordable and straightforward change that will give more people a secure retirement.”
Barbara with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, James Purnell MP