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EOC slams low annuity rates for women

The Equal Opportunities Commission has entered the pension fray, saying that women will be put off saving for retirement because of the lower rates they face when buying an annuity.

The warning comes as the Liberal Democrats start a campaign calling on the Government to conduct an inquiry into the “injustice that female pensioners suffer” at the hands of the pension system.

The LibDems say women who opted to pay the lower married women&#39s National Insurance rate are facing basic pensions as low as 7p a week.

The Retirement Income Reform Campaign has also written to politicians explaining why annuities discriminate against women.

The RIRC says offering lower rates to women is not fair because there are other factors such as lifestyle which affect how long one lives as much as gender.

The LibDems want the contribution rules to be changed to allow women in their 40s and 50s to buy back missed contributions so they can improve the size of their pension when they retire, which they are not currently all-owed to do.

The party points out that among today&#39s pensioners, poverty rates are highest among women, who represent almost three-quarters of pensioners on income support.

EOC chairwoman Julie Mellor says: “It is acknowledged that it will become increasingly difficult to sell pensions based on annuities to women when they become aware of the lower rates they receive compared with men.”

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