…the Office for National Statistics (ONS), whose new report on Pension Trends reveals that “employees on low earnings are less likely to belong to pension schemes than higher-paid employees”. It seems only 21% of men and 32% of women earning less than £300 a week are members of employers’ pension schemes. The only surprise here is that those numbers are as high as they are.
Earlier this week, a BBC report found that half of UK adults between 20 and 60 are not saving into a pension. Again, maybe not surprising.
The numbers do, though, provide a useful indication of the importance of the new Personal Accounts system, due to be up and running in 2012. Regardless of the ongoing woes of workplace pension providers, pension deficits and demographic time bombs, it’s worth remembering that Personal Accounts are probably the last chance to provide much needed additional retirement income for millions of people on middle and low incomes, and to avoid that burden falling entirely on taxpayers of the future. Who, let’s face it, will have enough on their plates after recent developments in the public finances.
Tom Stevenson, writing in the Telegraph earlier this week , invoked Goethe, no less, in addressing this issue: “whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it”.