Membership of workplace pension schemes has dropped the lowest level in 15 years, according to figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
The ONS figures show that membership has dropped to just 46%, with the level of membership in the private sector even lower, at 32%. Within the public sector membership stands at 83%.
Pensions minister Steve Webb (pictured) said the figure showed the need for the government’s auto-enrolment reforms.
‘The scale of the challenge is clear. Too few people are saving for their retirement, which is why our pension reforms are so crucial,’ he said.
Joanne Segars, chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF), said the closure of defined benefit schemes within the private sector was responsible for most of the drop.
‘For many pension funds the problems created by quantitative easing will have been a factor behind the decision to close,’ she said.
‘It is unnerving and unsustainable that only a third of the private sector workforce is saving into a pension. This is storing up huge problems for our society.’