Pensions Minister confirms plans for 'regular' pensions gender gap reporting

Pensions Minister, Laura Trott, has announced plans to begin monitoring and reporting on the gender pension gap regularly, with work to create a definition of the pensions gender gap also ongoing.

Concerns around the pensions gender gap were recently raised by the Work and Pensions Committee as part of its recent inquiry, with the government response since confirming plans to agree a definition of the gender pension gap, as well as a "coherent framework for understanding the scale and challenge of the gender pension gap".

Providing a further update in a House of Commons debate, Trott confirmed that the government is looking to go "one step further" than the current reporting on workplace pension contribution and participation rates by gender, to "begin monitoring and reporting on the issue regularly".

She stated: “Although many factors create inequality in pension outcomes, most notably the gender pay gap, I have started working with key stakeholders and colleagues across government to create a framework to understand the challenge and also to produce a definition of the gender pensions gap.

“Agreeing a definition is a crucial first step. That will allow us to agree a suitable metric to monitor progress and begin reporting on the issue. I need collective agreement before I can say more, but I will come back to the committee when I have a timeline for that.”

When asked by Timms as to the sort of frequency had in mind for monitoring the size of the gender pensions gap, Trott agreed that “annual reporting would make sense”, although she clarified that this is something that still needs to be looked into further.

Timms welcomed this news, stating: "I welcome the prospect of annual government reporting on that subject. I hope [the minister] is able to secure the cross-government agreement she needs to deliver that."

Also commenting on the news, Barnett Waddingham policy and strategy lead, Amanda Latham, said that "it is about time" the government began regular reporting on the gender pensions gap, arguing that "there is now an insurmountable amount of research shining light on the stark gender pensions gap".

However, she suggested that policy makers must also "urgently prioritise reform", including reviewing the auto-enrolment rules to bring more women into workplace pensions.

She continued: “The UK pensions system is designed for a society which no longer exists; one where men went out to work and women stayed at home within a strictly nuclear family. Now, the world has changed but the financial services infrastructure has not.

"It’s time to take the burden of solving this financial failure away from women. We need to consider fiscal, behavioural, and societal issues collectively, and work to create a more robust and inclusive pensions framework that offers fairer solutions for all.

"Policy makers must urgently prioritise reform, including reviewing the auto-enrolment rules to increase the minimum level contributions and remove the minimum earning requirement, change the state pension to better reflect career breaks, and move to a flat rate of pension tax relief."

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