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Workplace pension enrolment at record high, data reveals

26 Sep 2016

The number of individuals with a workplace pension reached a record high in 2015, new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) has revealed.

The figures show that total membership of occupational pension schemes in the UK rose to 33.5 million in 2015 – a rise of 10% when compared to the figure for 2014.

Active membership of occupational pension schemes totalled 11.1 million: 5.5 million of these were in the private sector, with 5.6 million in the public sector.

However, the average total contribution rate for private sector defined contribution schemes was just 4.0% of pensionable earnings in 2015. The ONS stated that this is ‘broadly comparable’ to the previous year’s figure.

Experts have warned that this contribution rate needs to change to ensure that workers have enough for a comfortable retirement.

Commenting on the data, Frances O’Grady, General Secretary of the Trades Union Congress (TUC), stated: ‘Automatic enrolment has made a good start by bringing millions more people into workplace pensions.

‘But it is a job half done. Too many women and lower-income workers still miss out.

‘And we should be very concerned about plunging pension contributions. Millions who are doing the right thing by paying into a pension remain at risk of falling into hardship in old age.

‘Next year’s review of automatic enrolment must be used by the Government to provide a long-term plan for how workplace pensions will provide a decent retirement income for low and middle-earners.’      

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