Labour votes 'threatened by female pensioner poverty'

02 February 2004
A study by two leading organisations has warned that one in four single women pensioners live in poverty.

The report by Age Concern and the Fawcett Society claims that the government could lose the votes of female pensioners unless the issue is tackled.

Women in a couple receive just 32p for every £1 of pension income received by the man, the figures also reveal.

Three quarters of women aged 55-64 said they were unhappy with the government's handling of the UK pension crisis, the report warns, and it calls on the government to take urgent action to ensure the state pension system works for women.

The groups reminded the government that the problems faced by women in the current state pension system had been identified in its pensions green paper more that a year ago, but it had so far failed to do anything about them.

Research also revealed that 91 per cent of women believe the government should make paying a higher state pension a priority.

The report calls for changes to the state pension system so that it benefits everyone, not only those with traditional working patterns. It also criticises the means-tested Pension Credit introduced by the government last October, claiming it has made little difference to the finances of many poor women pensioners.

Michelle Mitchell, head of public affairs at Age Concern England, said: "There is growing anger from women of all ages that the government isn't listening to them. If the government fails to act it could prove costly at the ballot box."