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UK pension reforms bill fails women, report shows

In the wake of the Queen's speech on the proposed reforms to pensions in the UK, a new report has revealed that the reforms will fail women and offer little help to tackle inequalities in retirement savings.

According to a study by Scottish Widows and the Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC), self-employed women and women who spend long periods caring for others could be severely affected by the reforms, leaving many women still living on less than men in retirement.

The irregular work patterns will result in women losing out on the full benefit of the state pension and prevent them from saving consistently for their retirement.

The study indicated that almost a third of all women had no pension at all and half of all women saving for their retirement stopped when they had children and, therefore, many women found themselves in lower paid and part-time jobs.

With the new Labour Pensions Bill, those women who have been making extra contributions to their pension scheme during career breaks have effectively been throwing their money away as the qualification for a full state pension will now be granted to those in work for only 30 years worth of work, as opposed to the previous qualification of 39 years, the report said.

Women pay a high price for the complex and unpredictable lives they lead, said Jenny Watson, chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission, as quoted by The Guardian. The gender pay gap throughout women’s and men’s working lives becomes an even bigger pensions gap in retirement, as most women face the financial penalties for doing unpaid work caring for dependent children or older relatives or spending time in low-paid, often part-time work.