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Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL5595, tabled on 20 February 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation, The Dependency Trap—are we fit to face the future, published in January, in particular its proposal that working partners should be able to contribute to the pension funds of non-working partners in order to help tackle the gender pay gap in pensions.

Answered on

6 March 2018

The report by the Centre for the Study of Financial Innovation raises issues concerning differences in earnings between genders that cannot be tackled by the pensions system alone. The Government remains committed to minimising the gender pay gap.

Certain choices are available within an individualised UK tax and pensions system; subject to tax rules, households can plan for retirements by using household income to make payments to a personal pension for a non-working spouse.

In terms of pension savings, through automatic enrolment we are helping those who were historically underrepresented in workplace pension saving – including women and lower earners – build up retirement savings for their later life. Since the introduction of automatic enrolment the proportion of women employed full-time in the private sector who did not have a workplace pension has decreased from 65 per cent in 2012 to 31 per cent in 2016. It is also equalising workplace pension participation among eligible men and women. In 2016, 73 per cent of eligible men and women in the private sector were saving into a workplace pension compared with 43 per cent and 40 per cent of eligible men and women respectively in the private sector in 2012.

Our aim is to continue to normalise retirement saving for all groups. The recent review of automatic enrolment sets out our medium term vision for strengthening existing framework of workplace pension saving for lower paid workers (including women) alongside proposals to test interventions for the self-employed.