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- Author or Editor: Liam Foster x
This paper considers the relationship between gender and private pension provision. It provides a brief history of private pensions before considering the implications of pension policy on women’s private pension situation under New Labour and, briefly, the coalition government. For instance, there has been an emphasis on neoliberal concerns of private saving and individual responsibility as a means of reducing expenditure and encouraging long-term sustainability. The paper suggests that the focus on individual responsibility in pension saving leaves many women ill-equipped to save and dependent on means-tested pension provision, largely as a result of intermittent work histories.
The current financial and economic crisis has serious implications for the underlying ageing challenge. It has demonstrated weaknesses in the design and long-term sustainability of numerous pension schemes. While many EU countries have undertaken measures to adapt to these challenges it is important to ensure that the effects of the crisis and austerity plans do not adversely affect women. Initially this article outlines women's employment and pension situation before considering the implications of the crisis on their pension prospects. Finally, it highlights the need for in-depth discussions about pension systems in the EU which place women at the centre.
In Chapter Two, Liam Foster examines the changing nature of pensions policy in the UK with a particular focus on the gendered dimensions of retirement incomes. Here the focus is on the implications of the Coalition government’s policies on pensioners, and especially on women, with a particular focus on changes to private as well as public pensions, and both in the short and longer terms. Foster considers whether, set against rising life expectancies, retirement futures are likely to be more or less stable, equitable and well-funded. On each of these questions, the Coalition government’s policies are found wanting.
The period immediately after death has often been overlooked in British social policy, particularly in relation to funerals. The challenges presented by projected increases in the death rate owing to the ageing UK population mean that greater attention to state support for funding funerals is required. This article examines issues around current provision of state support for funerals via the Social Fund Funeral Payment, exploring potential failures in the way in which the payment meets people's needs. It concludes that considerable change is needed to state funeral policy to ensure that those from low-income backgrounds can have a ‘good send-off’.
This article uses individual-based and state-led care-focused defamilisation indices to explore women's employment opportunities and experiences and their implications for pension contributions. These two types of defamilisation indices are applied to eight European countries (Belgium, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, Sweden and the UK) which shows that the UK has less generous defamilisation measures than its European counterparts. It indicates that the use of defamilisation measures along with pension policies which are not based on the male breadwinner ideology have the capacity to moderate economic inequalities between men and women in older age.