Saga boss Ros Altmann hits out at differences in pension payments
Dr Ros Altmann,
director-general of Saga
Stop penalising women pensioners and make it safe to save.
That’s the message to the government from Dr Ros Altmann,
director-general of Saga, the Folkestone-based holidays and finance
She was commenting on new figures from the Department of Work
and Pensions which show huge variations in the amount of state
pension being paid to individuals.
Pensions minister Steve Webb described the current pension as so
complex “it would baffle even Einstein.”
About 130,000 pensioners are receiving £7 a week or less, while
around the same number are receiving £230 or more.
Dr Altmann said the figures re-enforced the need for State
“The UK state pension system is the by far the most complex in
"Almost no one understands it and it is not fit for purpose. It
fails to provide an adequate pension income for millions of
Britain’s pensioners, particular women and low earners.
"Radical reform long overdue - at the moment the UK State
pension system relies far too much on mass means-testing which
particularly penalises those who have tried to save for their
"As we are about to automatically enrol all workers into a
private pension scheme, it is vital that the state pension system
makes it safe to save. “
Although the figures highlighted the dramatic differences in
pension payments, the reality, said Dr. Altmann, was predominantly
men that got the highest amounts and women the lowest.
“We welcome the prospect of a adequate state pension that would
lift most people above means-testing.
"The new pension system should be fairer and simpler and no
longer treat women as second class citizens but we still need to
see the details of the new framework and how the Government plans
to implement it in order to ensure fairness.”
- The current state pension is made up of the basic state pension
and various additional state pension entitlements, but it is set to
be replaced by a flat-rate state pension for new pensioners set
above the level of the means test, currently estimated at around
£140 per week. A white paper is set to be published later this year
with further details.