State pension top-up ‘will help bridge gender gap’

The chief actuary of pension provider JLT Employee Benefits welcomed the government’s fillip for pensioners as an “opportunity to make up the gap” between men and women’s retirement provision.

He said: “Allowing pensioners to boost their state paying lump sums is good news, especially for women who are more likely than men to need and benefit from this assistance.”

Mr Nolan highlighted the fact that only half of women receive the full basic state pension they are entitled to, compared with 90 per cent of men.

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The offer was outlined in last year’s Autumn Statement. It is expected to last for a limited period starting in October 2015.

However, Mr Nolan warned that topping up may not be right for those in poor health and unfeasible for those with meagre savings.

He added: “It is important to start saving now for those who qualify for the scheme and can afford to do so.”

Andy James, head of retirement planning for national advisory firm Towry, said: “When compared with an index-linked annuity, which does not increase in the same way as the state pension but is a reasonable comparison, Steve Webb’s suggested top-up is compelling and substantially better than anything on the market at the moment.”