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One-fifth of women to rely on state pension

WOMEN retiring this year are nearly three times as likely as men to have only the state pension to live on, according to a report.

Some 20% of women, who often take career breaks or work part time to support families, said they have no other pension provision, compared with 7% of men, the research by insurer Prudential found.

The research, carried out among more than 1000 people intending to retire across Britain this year, also found that 18% will have an income below the "minimum income standard" as defined by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF).

The JRF estimates that a single pensioner needs an income of at least £8600 a year to reach a minimum socially acceptable standard of living; a retired couple needs an annual income of more than £12,500.

In Scotland, 9% of people retiring this year said they will be doing so without any private pension, which was the second lowest figure after the North West. In Wales this figure was 16%.

The state pension typically makes up 42% of a woman's expected retirement incomes compared with 28% for a man.

The findings follow shake-ups announced by the Government for the pensions industry in recent weeks.

Vince Smith-Hughes, a retirement income expert at Prudential, said these would give retirees choices, but added: "They don't alter the fact that many people are not saving enough for a comfortable retirement."

Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said women have been treated as "second class citizens" in retirement for too long. He said: "We are building a fairer retirement by automatically enrolling millions of workers and introducing a new flat-rate state pension."

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