75% of women to win full pension right by 2010

24 October 2008 / by Rebecca Sargent
The state pension system will soon become fairer to women according to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). In fact, 75% of women will be entitled to a full basic state pension by 2010.

The Pension Bill is to be amended to allow people to buy up to an additional six years of National Insurance contributions above the current limit of six years, with a one off payment. The change will give women who have taken years off work to have children the opportunity to boost their pension fund.

The changes will apply to those who reach State Pension age between April 6th 2008 and April 5th 2015 and who already have 20 qualifying years on their National Insurance record.

Announcing the proposal, Secretary of State James Purnell said: "Since 1997 we have reduced absolute pensioner poverty by 1.9 million and our radical reforms of the State Pension have made it fairer, more generous and more widely available.

"By 2010 around 75% of women reaching State Pension age will be entitled to a full Basic State Pension, rising to over 90%, compared to around 35% today."

"However, we are mindful of the potential disadvantages faced by those who do not have a full work history, mostly women and those with caring responsibilities."

Commenting on the proposals, which follow a long standing campaign by Baroness Hollis whose ideas had previously been dismissed as too expensive, Mr Purnell added: "This is fair, affordable and straightforward – and it will give more people the chance of a more secure future to look forward to in retirement."

One organisation that has welcomed the proposals with open arms is Age Concern whose director general Gordon Lishman said: "We are absolutely delighted by this decision which will give thousands of older women the opportunity to build up a better state pension. For far too long women have been dealt a poor pensions hand, simply for choosing to stay at home and care for their family."

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