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New ONS stats on workplace pensions - ‘the champagne needs to be put on ice’ - Steve Webb, Royal London

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8 May 2018

New ONS stats on workplace pensions - ‘the champagne needs to be put on ice’ - Steve Webb, Royal London

Commenting on new statistics from the Office for National Statistics on workplace pension membership, Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London said:

‘It is great news that nearly ten million extra workers are now saving in a pension because of automatic enrolment, and particularly encouraging that the youngest workers have seen the sharpest rise in membership. But these figures show that the champagne needs to be put on ice. Nearly half all employers were contributing the bare minimum of 1% of wages in 2017, and it seems likely that they will continue to contribute at the legal minimum level as contribution rates rise into 2019. A combined contribution rate of 8% between worker and firm is simply not good enough for most people. The hard work of automatic enrolment will be in supporting workers and firms to get these contributions up to more realistic levels. The single most important thing that the government could do would be to ensure that when people get a pay rise they automatically increase their contribution rate unless they actively opt out. We know that this approach works in the US and it is time to do the same in the UK if we are to avoid a generation of workers who will simply be unable to afford to retire.’

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