Letter: Poor lookout for women

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The Independent Online
From Ms Jean Clark

Sir: It is an established fact that women of pensionable age on average are the poorest members of British society. The Pensions Bill going through Parliament now does not address this problem.

Women are to retire at 65 (ie they will contribute five more years for the same pension). Because of their child-bearing and rearing role in society, women are at a disadvantage in the paid employment market. They have a break in paid employment and frequently when they return to work it has to be part-time.Thus comparatively few women have the opportunity to contribute to occupational or personal pensions, which is the Government's answer to the current dilemma of an increasing elderly population. Yet women in the home rearing young children are performing an important role in our society.

The Government estimates that a common pension age of 65 will bring a saving of £5bn to the Treasury. We call on the Government at the very least to channel this £5bn to relieving the poverty of the poor elderly women, who are unable to avail themselves of the occupational and personal pensions schemes advocated by the Government.

Yours faithfully,


The National Council of

Women of Great Britain

London, N1

9 March