Fewer workers saving for pensions as consumers and companies make cuts

Tim Wallace
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NUMBER of Brits saving for pensions is at its lowest level since the 1950s, according to figures released yesterday by the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In 2010, 8.3m people were actively saving into occupational pensions, down from 8.7m in 2009. The number of savers has declined steadily since 1995.

The public sector accounts for 5.3m members compared with 3m in the private sector. However the bulk of the decline has come in the private sector, with 300,000 fewer contributors, compared with a drop of 100,000 in the public sector over the year.

Including pensioners receiving payments and former employees with preserved entitlements, there were 27.2m members of such schemes in 2010, down from 27.7m in 2009.

Three factors are contributing to the decline, according to Adrian Boulding from Legal and General.

“Some companies have become less willing to offer pensions, some individuals feel they can’t afford to join schemes, and structural changes in UK employment, as large companies which were more likely to offer pensions have shed jobs,” he told City A.M.

However, under the new auto-enrolment scheme, large companies will be forced to offer pensions from July 2012. The government expects membership to rise by five to eight million.