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Mapped: Which? uncovers the state pension postcode lottery

Retirees are much better off in certain areas

State pensioners are getting hugely different weekly amounts according to where they live, new research by Which? has discovered.

The consumer champion analysed the latest Department for Work & Pensions (DWP) data and found significant disparities persist – with the average person receiving £154.10 a week in East Hertfordshire compared to £128.17 a week in the London Borough of Newham.

This equates to a difference of nearly £30,000 over the course of a typical 20-year retirement.

This comes just a after Which? revealed the £29,000 difference in state pension earnings between men and women.


State pension winners and losers

Data covering local authorities highlights that average weekly state pension amounts can vary by almost £30 around the country.

Pensioners in the City of London (£156.93, but a relatively small number), East Hertfordshire (£154.10), Chiltern (£153.72), Wycombe (£153.70) and North Hertfordshire (£153.61) have the most to be happy about.

Those living in the London Boroughs of Newham (£128.17), Tower Hamlets (£128.75), Hackney (£129.93), Brent (£133.34) and Haringey (£137.05) have to get by on considerably lower levels of the weekly benefit.

Average state pension payments can reflect the relative affluence of different areas.

Where you live won’t influence how much state pension you get, but it will give a clue about the working history of recipients and where higher wage levels have driven increased amounts of additional state pension.

Find out how much state pension you are likely to get.

Mapped: average state pension in your area

Click on your local authority to find out how much the average state pension is, and the difference for men and women. This is based on data from August 2017, the latest available from the DWP.

Richest and poorest state pensioners

Putting aside the City of London where there are relatively few people receiving the state pension, women are best off in Richmond upon Thames (£141.98), Elmbridge (£141.03), Renfrewshire (£140.72), East Renfrewshire (£140.61) and Reigate and Banstead (£140.43).

Women living in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney, Brent and the Orkney Islands get the lowest average of between £120 and £126 per week.

The highest male state pension earners are located in Rugby (£173.73), Wycombe (£173.69), Chelmsford (£173.27), Chiltern (£173.02) and East Hertfordshire (£172.87).

The 14 areas with the lowest weekly average amount for men are all London Boroughs – Newham, Hackney, Tower Hamlets, Brent, Lambeth, Haringey, Southwark, Ealing, Westminster, Islington, Camden, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea and Lewisham.

Men vs women: difference in state pensions

There are some notable variations in what men and women receive on average.

The biggest contrasts are in Rugby (£38.54), Dudley (£38.12), South Staffordshire (£37.91), Chelmsford (£37.68) and East Northamptonshire (£37.62) where men get almost £40 more than women each week.

The difference in the state pension received by men and women is narrowest in the London Boroughs, varying mostly between £13 and £20, with the smallest gaps being in Lambeth (£13.35) and Camden (£13.87).

How much state pension will I get?

The amount of state pension you’ll receive depends on a number critical factors – when you qualified, how many years’ worth of National Insurance contributions you have, your earnings and the type of private pension you have.

Currently, you need 35 years’ worth of National Insurance contributions to get the ‘full’ amount of state pension. You need at least 10 years’ worth to get anything at all.

If you reached state pension age before 6 April 2016, your state pension is made up of two parts: the basic state pension and the additional state pension.

The basic state pension in 2018/19 is £125.95. The additional state pension is based upon your earnings, but the maximum you can earn is £172.28, in addition to the basic state pension.

If you reached state pension age on or after 6 April 2018, you qualify for the ‘single tier’ state pension. This combines the basic and additional state pension into a single amount.

The full amount is £164.35. However, you may get more, if the combination of your basic and additional state pension under the old system if higher than this amount.

Conversely, you could earn less than this. If you spent a period of your career ‘contracted out’ of the additional state pension, meaning you opted out of it to get a higher private pension, your state pension could be reduced to reflect this.

This typically affects people who have a defined benefit or final salary pension.

You can find out how much state pension you’re due to receive by getting a state pension forecast at gov.uk.

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