UK - Equal opportunity chiefs have attacked the pensions Green Paper for failing women and not doing enough to challenge inequality in old age.
Equal Opportunities Commission chairwoman Julie Mellor said that the pension system penalised women and proposals set out by the government “will do little to change that”.
She added: “We cannot rely on changes in the labour market alone to improve women’s situation.
“Until we close the pay gap and devise a pension system that takes account of time out of the labour market to look after children, the pensions system will continue to fail women.”
The £1.4m savings caps has also been slammed for being discriminatory against women.
Financial adviser Advisory & Brokerage Services’ managing director Gareth Marr said: “At age 65 it would cost £1.55m to buy an equivalent pension for a single female, compared to a single male. The £1.4m cap is discriminatory.”
Marr pointed out it was still possible to get markedly improved annuities for those who were regarded to have “impaired lives”.
He added: “It might be good advice for females to change sex, take up smoking, drinking and hang-gliding as they approach retirement.”
But Lawyers have stressed that, although these measures are discriminatory, it is not illegal in the UK or Europe to discriminate between men and women for tax purposes.
The Association of Pensions Lawyers chairman David Pollard (pictured) said: “This discrimination is a consequence of there being different annuity rates. The government looked at whether it should resolve this issue in the Green Paper and said no – it is not illegal discrimination.”
Simmons & Simmons solicitor Camilla Barry added that the discrimination caused by the £1.4m cap – like that of annuities – had been sanctioned by the government and was here to stay.
“It could be taken to Europe, but it is an unlikely occurrence,” she said.
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