Breakdown in UK Private Sector Pensions

03 January 2012 - Which Way to Pay

    



Breakdown in UK Private Sector Pensions

There has been a dramatic collapse in private sector pension schemes as across the UK companies are withdrawing from bolstering employee pension schemes. With over 23 million people employed within the UK private sector, versus 6 million in the public sector the report released today has ensured fears that the gap between private and public pensions has been drastically increased. The Association of Consulting Actuaries (ACA) has produced a study of 468 UK employers whose defined benefit schemes are to be dissolved. Furthermore, 99% of these schemes are already closed for new applicants with 4 out of 10 employers not allowing current members to add any additional benefits. The ACA has demanded government incentives in order to boost workplace pensions. The chairman of the ACA, Stuart Southall, has said, “The Government needs to be bold in helping private sector employers so they can consider new ways to boost pension savings over the mid to longer-term so public sector pensions are not ‘far better’”. He is supported by many in the belief that a fairer system is needed.

Some have suggested that UK companies should be forced to undergo a massive overhaul in ejecting as much as £600bn into their corporate pension schemes. An auto-enrolment in workplace pension schemes begins being phased in from October where employees will automatically be included in pension schemes. However, this proposal has been fiercely attacked by Pensions minister Steve Webb, who argues that the revamp would mean that UK companies would walk away from such schemes as it would cost British industry over £100bn. On the other hand A Department for Work and Pensions spokeswoman has said that this radical action taken by the Government “will enable millions of people to save, many for the first time.”

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