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Game-changing pension reforms will help the UK save more, says NAPF

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The five-year implementation of the Government's landmark auto-enrolment scheme is now under way to automatically place millions of people into workplace pensions. The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) welcomed the scheme today.

NAPF chief executive, Joanne Segars, said: " This is a game-changer that will get millions of people saving for their retirement. The UK is drifting towards an iceberg when it comes to paying for its old age, and we need radical reform such as this."

She added: "Some people might think about quitting their new pension, but we urge them to stick with it and get saving for their old age. Leaving the pension would mean losing tax breaks and employer contributions, which are, in effect, 'free money'."

Research for the NAPF carried out in September by pollsters Populus, shows that of those in employment, nine in 10 (89%) believe that every worker should be entitled to a workplace pension. Less than half (46%) are members of a pension scheme at work and a third (32%) work for an employer that does not offer a pension. Two in three (65%) say they are likely to stay in their new pension and only a quarter (24%) of those earning £14,000 or less are already saving into a pension scheme in the workplace.

Out of those who are likely to stay in their new pension, 87% think auto-enrolment makes it easier for people to save. Just under 75% say that a pension is a good option because interest rates on ISAs and savings are too low. And 87% say the state pension alone will not be enough for them in retirement.

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) also agreed that auto-enrolment is the right way to go. CBI director-general, John Cridland said: "The UK needs a renewed focus on long-termism if we are to secure sustainable private sector growth and rebalance the economy. That means taking bold, visionary action now to address the problems we expect to face in the future.

He added: "The business community is committed to helping employees to achieve a good income in retirement. Auto-enrolment will encourage them to think long-term about their finances to achieve this goal."

Segars added: "It's important that people are put into well-managed, high quality pensions that offer good value for money. We have to bolster faith in the system, and there's no point bringing workers into a bad pension which they then turn their backs on."

James Biggs, head of corporate pensions at employee benefits firm Lorica, is undecided how auto-enrolment will go: "It's time to hold on tight. Employers are starting on a roller-coaster ride they didn't really want to get on.

He added: "We all know a successful journey to retirement for every employee in the UK is a great idea, but employers didn't ask for it to have so many twists and loops. It's been a learning curve for many already, and certainly current and future employers may have preferred to spend the fare on other things."