British male pensioners are considerably better off than their female counterparts when it comes to receiving a full basic state pension (BSP).

According to the latest figures published by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), only 46% of female pensioners received their full BSP, while 80% of retired males received full BSP in September 2012.

The full BSP is worth £110.15 (€131.76, $181.15) a week for a single man or woman in 2013/14.

The report from the ONS explained this discrepancy by the fact that many women in the current generation of pensioners failed to build up a full or near full BSP entitlement under the old system.

This was due to part-time or broken work patterns and pension policies which have since been reformed.

The ONS report said that more than 10% of female pensioners received less than half of the full BSP, compared with 7% of male pensioners.

Furthermore, a much higher percentage of women receive over half the state pension but not the full amount: 44% of women versus 12% of men.

The report also observed that some female pensioners receive their BSP through their husbands rather than in their own right.

In such circumstances, women receive approximately 60% of their husband's BSP - which equates to £66.60 a week if their husband receives full BSP in 2013/14 - and no additional state pension.

These women decided to pay the "married women's stamp" (reduced rate NI contributions) when in employment rather than building up their own contributions.

Men versus Women

The report also highlighted inequality in the additional state pension, which varies in size depending on how much you have earned or whether certain benefits have been claimed.

In September 2012, 6.3 million women were receiving an additional state pension compared to 4.6 million men.

The ONS report said the average amount received by women was £23 per week, compared with £41 for men.

It was assumed that additional pensions would mainly be accrued mainly by men and women that would receive a share of the entitlement after their husband's death.

Vulnerable Single Women Pensioners

The report found that single women were most likely to be in receipt of pension credit, which tops us a pension depending on savings.

More than 1.1 million single women were recipients of this pension in February 2013 said the ONS.

British Pension and Work Reforms

Pension provision policies have had to contend with the UK's growing elderly population and the fact that people are living longer.

In his most recent Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Obsorne proposed a number of reforms that included making the state pension age rise to 68 brought forward to the mid-2030s.

He also said the state pension age could increase further to 69 by the late 2040s.

The ONS said total public spending on state pensions will increase from £94bn (6.0% of GDP) in 2012/13, to £438bn (8.4% of GDP) in 2062/63.