WOMEN in Scotland can expect to retire on substantially lower incomes than their male counterparts.

A new survey has revealed that Scotland has the second-worst gender gap in pensions income in the UK – with women expecting to retire on more than one-third less than men.

Female Scots retiring this year predict an average annual income of £10,029, while men expect to receive £17,539 a year, according to Prudential.

This compares to the UK overall, which has a pensions gender gap of £5750 – with women's expected annual income at £12,250 and men's at £18,000. Overall, the UK gap has narrowed by £750 on the previous year, but Prudential claims this is mainly due to male incomes falling, rather than an increase in female earnings.

The survey, which took account of 9614 British people aged over 45, also revealed expected retirement incomes are at a five-year low, averaging at £15,500 a year. This is a drop of £1100 on last year.

In Scotland, the average amount people expect to retire on is £14,150 a year.

Vince Smith-Hughes, Prudential's retirement income expert, said: "The pension gender gap appears to be narrowing, but there is still a long way to go. Not only does the gap remain stubbornly wide, but anticipated retirement incomes have this year hit a five-year low for both men and women.

"The practical steps women can take to improve their retirement income prospects include maintaining pension contributions during career breaks and, if possible, making voluntary National Insurance contributions after returning to work.

"It is imperative for anyone looking to secure a sufficient income when they retire to begin saving as much as they can, as early as they can, and to do so regularly through life. For those who are still working, it has never been a more important time to save into a pension."

The study also showed that almost half (49%) of women in the UK believe they will not have enough income to live comfortably in retirement, compared to 40% of men.

The south-east of England had the biggest gender gap, with women expecting to receive just £12,259, compared to £20,137 for men. The north-west had the narrowest gap, with a difference of just £2545.