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- Author or Editor: Debora Price x
Many women face severe obstacles in accumulating adequate income in later life. The pensions White Paper heralds substantive reform of the pension system, with certain elements assisting women in future to build pension entitlements. The extent to which the reforms will have the desired effect is, however, unclear since the system remains complex and means-tested benefits will remain a substantial element of pensioner income for many in the population. The government has committed to a gender impact assessment of the reforms. This article explores the elements of the pension system that should be evaluated if this assessment is to take full account of gender.
This chapter views the potential financial position of divorced women in retirement in England and Wales from two convergent perspectives. The first is a review of the location of the United Kingdom within the welfare state theory as a paradigm male breadwinner nation state. The second is focused on a certain policy solution to the ‘problem’ of the retirement income of divorced women that has been chosen and recently implemented by the UK government. The chapter also introduces the concept of ‘pension sharing’, which is the allocation of pensions between divorced spouses.
In December 2002, the Labour government announced the formation of the Pensions Commission. In 2005, the Commission published comprehensive proposals for pension reform in their second report and it was a remarkable achievement; the proposals gained a broad acceptance from the government and opposition parties, trades unions, employer organisations, the insurance industry, special interest groups and the voluntary sector. In November 2006, the reform packages began to crystallise with the introduction of the first Pensions Bill which eventually became the 2007 Pensions Act. In 2007, the government published the second Pensions Bill, which at the time of writing aims to reform the private and occupational pension system, to take effect from 2012. Although this Bill attracted more controversy, there is again a substantial political and stakeholder consensus for the broad content. All reforms are incremental to the existing system, yet the reform package has the capability to alter the pension landscape dramatically. This chapter discusses the implementation of these reforms to the state pension after the major Turner Commissions on Pensions. It documents the decline of defined benefits in favour of defined contributions schemes, together with the new development of Personal Accounts and an assessment of their likely impact. In conclusion, the chapter suggests that the new pensions structure is a return to the Beveridge flat-rate system. Furthermore, it suggests that low earners and those with intermittent employment records may make ‘bad’ decisions about their pensions due to lack of clear guidance and advice available to this group. This may result in increasing inequalities between public and private pensions provision.
In Chapter Four, Deborah Price and Lynne Livsey examine ‘the politics of old age’ in the contemporary UK setting. In particular, they analyse recent developments in the financing of later life, principally through changes in pensions and long-term care. Along the way, they also deal with associated challenges for older citizens, including the management of income, assets and savings in the context of competitive or quasi-competitive service regimes. These programmes, Price and Livsey argue, require older people to have made what can be conceived as the ‘right’ financial decisions ‘for the whole of their adult lives’. In this way, individuals are constructed by government as ‘malleable subjects’ who can be ‘nudged’ into ‘becom[ing] financially capable, fiscally competent, actuarially aware subjects’. The authors contend that new social inequalities can emerge through amended risk and reward mechanisms.
In this study of older migrants living in informal settlements in Harare, we seek to understand what care and caring means for older people ageing far from their place of origin in conditions of informality in a country with no formal care infrastructure. We find that care relations derive from histories of migration, community, kinship, aspiration, displacement and disenfranchisement, with the provision of security within insecure systems core to the very idea of care. Further action is needed at all levels to foreground how older migrants are living on Zimbabwean society’s margins and to facilitate their daily practices of care.
In this chapter we argue that to understand the ways that policy, structure and culture all shape how grandmothers help to care for children, we need to re-think our approach to these issues. We need in particular to think about policies in terms of how they impact on mothers and grandmothers simultaneously, providing different and complex incentives and opportunities in each generation. This leads us to conceptualise childcare as something that is organised in the wider family, and to think of family care versus formal care when considering the wider impacts on individuals and society, rather than focussing on maternal versus non-maternal childcare. It also necessitates thinking about how cultures of gender, family and paid work might be influencing family-level discussions and negotiations. We show that conceptualising childcare as a family collaboration framed by policy and culture helps to explain substantial variations in grandmaternal childcare across Europe..