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Last Updated: Friday, 3 December, 2004, 15:59 GMT
State pension reform
Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson
BBC Radio 4's Money Box was broadcast on Saturday, 4 December, 2004 at 1204 GMT.

The programme was repeated on Sunday, 5 December, November, at 2102 GMT.

The biggest change in state pensions for more than 50 years has been suggested by Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson.

In an interview with The Daily Telegraph published on Saturday he said everyone should get the basic state pension regardless of the National Insurance contributions they have paid.

A government's spokeswomen has confirmed to Money Box that a "citizen's pension" is something Mr Johnson is interested in, and that it is being discussed.

But she stressed it is one a number of options being considered.

At the moment a full working life of around 40 years is needed to qualify for the full pension of 80 a week.

But while 90% of men qualify when they retire, barely half of all women do.

We asked Mervyn Kohler of Help the Aged to explain the significance of Mr Johnson's comments.

Producer: Jennifer Clarke
Presenter: Paul Lewis
Reporter: Louise Greenwood
Web Producer: Nathalie Knowles

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Links and helplines
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