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DWP reports growing employer and employee optimism for pension auto-enrolment

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The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has launched a report showing more than half of employers and two thirds of staff are in support of auto-enrolment into pension schemes.

According to the report, 56% of employers and 64% of staff support Government plans for automatic enrolment into a workplace pension scheme from 2012.

The report claims seven million people are currently not saving enough to deliver the pension income they are likely to want, or expect, in retirement, and 2.5 million fewer employees are saving in a private sector occupational pension than in 1995.

DWP minister Lord Freud said: "With only around half of employees saving into a workplace pension, our planned reforms are needed to prevent millions of Britons facing a penny-pinching retirement.

"It is encouraging that, despite the recession, the majority of employers are still in favour of pension savings.  We will work with business and the industry to make automatic enrolment work, so we can give millions more people the chance to save, and an independent review team is currently looking at how we get the details right."

Most employers already making pension contributions of three per cent or more expect to maintain or increase their level of contribution when they have to provide pensions for all their staff.

While 94% of employers contributing at least 3% say they will maintain or increase levels for existing members, 81% say they will offer existing contribution levels or higher to non members and new employees. 

Most workers who are eligible also support the reforms. They say that if they were automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme tomorrow they would expect to stay in the scheme.

90% say the employer contribution is attractive. Three quarters said they could afford to put four percent of their wage into a workplace pension, and around half of those who expected to remain saving after automatic enrolment said they were likely to contribute more than four per cent of their pay.

The Government announced an independent review of how to make auto-enrolment work on Thursday 24 June.  A team of three independent experts will report back in the autumn.