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Gender savings gap increases as women hit by economic dowturn

Scottish Widow

Scottish Widows says women are being “disproportionately” hit by the economic downturn as the gender savings gap increased during 2012.

Research of 5,200 adults carried out in March found 26 per cent of women are not saving for their retirement, compared with 23 per cent in 2011.

Some 19 per cent of men say they are putting nothing aside for retirement, compared with 17 per cent last year.

On average, women are now saving £776 per year less than men. Last year, this gap was £700 per year.

Scottish Widows head of corporate pensions business development Lynn Graves says: “Important differences in lifestyle such as being more likely to work part-time or have a full-time caring role, mean women often find it more difficult to save for the long term and retirement.

“It has therefore never been more important for the pensions industry, Government and employers to raise awareness of this gender gap in retirement savings and help women prioritise their pensions.”

Labour used the report to attack the Government’s decision to increase the automatic enrolment earnings trigger from £5,035 to £7,475 in 2011/12, in line with the PAYE threshold.

The trigger was increased to £8,105 this year and the Government has already tabled proposals to raise the figure for 2013/14 to £9,205.

Labour says if the Government presses ahead with this, more than 1 million fewer people will be auto-enrolled than would have been the case if the £5,035 earnings trigger had been retained. The majority of those who will no longer be caught by the reforms are women.

Labour Shadow pensions minister Gregg McClymont says: “Labour designed auto-enrolment to help lower income workers save for the future, but this Government have hollowed out the scheme leaving more than a million out in the cold.”

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