Number of people saving for a retirement hits lowest level yet

FEWER people are saving for retirement than at any time since records began, raising the spectre of a generation forced to work into their 70s.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), only 46 per cent of UK employees had a pension scheme in 2012, compared with more than 55 per cent a decade earlier.

It said that membership of workplace-based schemes fell to 8.2m in 2011 – the lowest level since the 1950s.

Meanwhile the number belonging to defined benefit pension schemes fell from 46 per cent in 1997 to 28 per cent in 2012.

While public sector membership has remained steady at around 5m, the private sector has seen a dramatic fall, from around 8m in 1967 to just 2.9m members in 2011.

Lee Hollingworth, of Hymans Robertson said: “The current system relies too heavily on people becoming their own pensions manager but in reality it’s difficult for most people to understand how contributions will translate into income in retirement... This will have significant consequences for employers with an ageing workforce as well as young people looking to enter the workforce.”