The Quickie

A bite-sized look at this week's news…

Patricia Pleased with Pensions

Posted by allie1985 on October 28, 2008

Since the 1990’s Baroness Patricia Hollis has been campaigning for women to get a better deal on pensions.

Last week she finally got her wish.  The government have amended a bill to let women buy back their missing National Insurance payment years.

She said: “It’s really good news. Women too often have to choose between looking after themselves and looking after their family. “By enabling them to buy back their missing years they can now recover some of their lost pension”

“Other groups which could benefit include people who are self-employed and those who took time out to be a student or to go abroad”

However the Baroness does point out that the Government improvements could make a few women worse off

“It only makes sense if you have at least 20 years of contributions already or you could be better off on the married woman’s stamp or with pension credits.”

This is an important move as currently only 35% of women receive a full state pension.

 History 

Previously ministers had rejected Hollis’s campaign and refused to let women improve their pensions by allowing them additional top ups. They were allowed to ‘buy back’ up to six years but that was as far as the Government would go to improving the situation.

However last week James Purnell, secretary for work and pensions,  decided to amend the new Pensions Bill to enable all people to buy back another six years. That makes a total of 12 years that people can buy back.

 Improvements to the bill 

The bill is set to be debated in the Lords next week and includes other improvements for women’s pensions.

A new system of NI credits is to be set up. This will recognize the value in unpaid work caring for children, elderly relatives and the disabled. People who do these jobs will be credited just as those with normal paid jobs are.

By 2010 the amount of contributions needed to be made by people to receive the full state pension will also be decreased. It is currently set at 39 years for women and 44 years fro men. Under the new law, both will be decreased to 30 years.

 BBC Article 

Main article

Alexandra Murphy

(alexandra.murphy@my.westminster.ac.uk)

 

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