Pensions revision recognises career breaks and carers

10 November 2006
A radical revision of pensions provision drawn up by work and pensions secretary John Hutton will enable twice as many women to qualify for the full basic state pension within four years, according to the Guardian.

The new proposals, to be unveiled in next week's Queen's Speech, will allow mothers who have taken career breaks to have a family to work for fewer years before qualifying.

Under current legislation, women have to work for 39 years to qualify, but the proposals
would cut this to 30 years.

Pensions contributions would also be accrued weekly rather than annually, allowing women who work part time, or for part of a given year, to build up entitlements.

The invaluable work of carers is also recognised, as caring for a family member will be credited in the same way as formal, paid employment for the first time.

Estimates show that 70 per cent of women will get the full basic state pension on retirement by 2010, compared to only 30 per cent today.

A 'senior government source' told the Guardian this was "a change to benefits provision on a scale not seen since … the 1940s".

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