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Auto-enrolment 'success' as fewer than expected opt-out

Fewer people than expected have opted out of the Government's auto-enrolment pension scheme, according to the latest figures published by pension provider National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).

The study found that only 9% of employees chose to leave pension schemes after being automatically enrolled.

Before auto-enrolment's introduction a year ago the Government had predicted that a third might leave.

The study found tough economic conditions have triggered a mood of financial "stoicism", boosting a chance of success for the Government's aim of having every worker in the UK paying into a pension scheme by 2018.

Since the introduction of the scheme, a year ago tomorrow, around 1.6 million workers have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme.

Quiet revolution

Three-fifths (61%) of people, who are yet to be placed in a workplace pension, said they plan to stay in it, showing a sharp increase from less than half (47%) in 2011.

Just under one-fifth (18%) of consumers disagree with the idea of auto-enrolment, down from 27% in 2011.

Pensions minister Steve Webb welcomed the news. "Over the past year we have instigated a quiet revolution that has heralded the biggest change to pensions in a century," he said.

Of the workers questioned who have now been placed in a workplace pension, 51% of those who had stayed with it said they felt it was time to start saving for retirement.