State pension fury as average sum for women lags behind men – ‘no equality!’

WASPI women have been left ‘high and dry’ says David Linden

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A question was recently raised in the House of Lords regarding state pension payments and gender differences. Lord Premn Sikka asked the Government what the median state pension is currently for men and women, respectively. Baroness Stedman-Scott, DWP Minister, responded by outlining the median weekly amount by gender at the end of May 2021.

The data looked at the basic “old” state pension, as well as the new state pension.

For the state pension prior to 2016, the median sum for women is £150.25, whereas for men it was recorded at £172.83.

Disparity, albeit less, was noted in the new state pension also between men and women.

The median sum for women on the new state pension was recorded at £174.47 per week, whereas for men this was £178.52.

The data was taken directly from the Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study as well as other administrative data.

It does not, however, include any payments of Pension Credit which people may be receiving in addition to their contributory state pension.

However, for Lord Sikka, who posed the question, the data made grim reading. 

He took to Twitter and wrote: “There is no pension equality. 

“The UK Government says that the median weekly state pension for women is £150.25 to £174.47, and for men it is £172.83 to £178.52.

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“So older women suffer the most. No one can live on these amounts, and the Government feels no shame.”

The WASPI campaign, which calls on the Government to offer compensation to 1950s born women impacted by a change in the state pension age, also expressed their frustration surrounding the data. 

A WASPI spokesperson told “WASPI knows that many women born in the 1950s are unlikely to receive the full new state pension because of a shortfall in their NI contributions due to part time work, child care and other caring responsibilities. 

“For women, and 1950s born women in particular the possibilities of accruing a ‘pension pot’ to ensure a secure retirement was greatly reduced.

“Things were different in the 1970s. The equal pay act was in its infancy, there was no subsidised child care and no paternity pay. Women were expected to give up work and care for their own children, and to give up their job, which wasn’t held open for them. 

“Until 1978, when WASPI women were in their mid to late 20s, mothers received Family Allowance, and no NI credits before child benefit was introduced.

“Many women juggled part time work with childcare. The threshold relating to company pension schemes was high, excluding most part time and low paid workers. Many companies didn’t have pensions schemes. Those that did were allowed to exclude women and, if she had fewer than five full years in the pension scheme, the contributions were refunded.

“The maladministration by the DWP regarding the lack of notice these women received about an increase of up to six years in their state pension age had catastrophic effect on their retirement prospects. 

“All these factors illustrate why WASPI women have been disadvantaged and that it’s time the Government compensated them for this historic wrong.”

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A number of people also expressed their opinions about the data via Twitter.

User @1_Lovelife, said: “Equalising the state pension was all about equality – equalising the state retirement age. But that obviously doesn’t extend to equalising the finances.”

While another user @chrismidgley added: “For those relying on the state pension, they now have the deadly duo of food and heat poverty.”

Relating to WASPI, a DWP spokesperson recently told “Both the High Court and Court of Appeal have supported the actions of the DWP, under successive governments dating back to 1995, and the Supreme Court refused the claimants permission to appeal.

“In a long-overdue move towards gender equality, it was decided more than 25 years ago to make the state pension age the same for men and women.” has contacted the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for comment on the state pension data.

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