Today’s ‘gig economy’ millennials and those retiring after them could face an impoverished retirement if the UK’s low and unequal state pension is not reformed.
The National Pensioners’ Convention latest webinar today (18 June) – State Pension Inequality and Pensioner Poverty - heard expert speakers call for an overhaul of the two-tier UK state system.
With two million* retirees judged to be living in poverty right now (*Age UK), and the gender pension gap between men and women sitting at 40%, speakers at the NPC webinar said the situation would only get worse for tomorrow’s pensioners if nothing changes.
Daniella Jenkins, Pension’s Policy Adviser with the influential Women’s Budget Group said: “Saddled with student debt, higher housing costs and flat wages and now the pandemic, Millennials and later generations face a new future pensions crisis. Women, so often an afterthought in pensions reform, remain worse off with only a fifth of the retirement income of their male counterparts. Meanwhile with pension funds continue to make eye watering profits supported by tax breaks and murky fees.”
Daniella was joined in the online discussion, part of the NPC’s virtual Annual Convention webinar series this June, by: TUC Pensions Policy Officer Jack Jones; NPC Pensions Expert Bob Pinkerton; event chair and NPC Pensions & Income Working Party Chair, Brian Sturtevant; and NPC General Secretary Jan Shortt.
Talking about her own recent research with Millenials (born 1980 to 1995), Daniella told the panel: “Of the women in my sample, one in three had gaps in state pension contributions and three quarters had gaps in occupational pension contributions, this was despite the fact that most began work after auto enrolment was introduced in 2012. Contribution gaps were largely driven by employment patterns, whereby just over a third of the participants were in full time work, but also affordability - a number of women said they were not paid enough to be able to afford to contribute to a pension - so poverty is feeding future poverty.