The Pensions Act 2007 has now received Royal Assent, bringing into force many of the government’s pensions reforms.
As well as providing a boost for women and carers, the Act will restore a link between the basic state pension and earnings from 2012 and provide a simpler, flat-rate state second pension.
The number of years’ contributions required to achieve a full basic state pension will be reduced to 30 for both women and men from 6 April 2010. The current requirement is 39 years for women and 44 for men.
The Act will also gradually increase the state pension age to 68 by 2046.
Work and pensions secretary Peter Hain said: “Many women and carers are currently denied a full pension entitlement because their family and caring responsibilities mean they are not in work long enough to qualify.
“By providing a fairer deal on state pensions, we are providing a platform for greater saving by both individuals and employers in the new savings scheme we are introducing in the next Pensions Bill.”
Meanwhile, Paul Myners has been appointed chairman of the Personal Accounts Delivery Authority, with effect from 1 August.
The delivery authority will offer independent advice to government and will be responsible for getting personal accounts up and running and for ensuring employers meet their new obligations.
Myners has extensive executive experience in the financial sector and is also chairman of the Low Pay Commission.
He said: “Setting up a trust-based, occupational pension scheme, with up to 10 million members, is going to be a major undertaking, and I look forward to getting on with the role.”