Employers' pension contributions surge

Tuesday, 12 October 2004 12:00

Private employers’ contributions to pensions schemes have more than doubled in the last seven years, to £37 billion.

Keen to highlight the efforts of business in boosting pensions savings, the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) published the statistic and urged the government to face the looming “pensions crisis”.

Today the independent Pensions Commission released a report warning of a massive shortfall in pension funds, and CBI director general Digby Jones has cautioned the government to seek “credible solutions, rather than only beating up on employers”.

He insisted that the rise in employers’ contributions was not to blame for the gap in savings funds, which he put down to a “Molotov cocktail of circumstances”.

Jones added that “generally speaking companies have been miscast as the villains of the pensions piece” and called on “individuals and government” to do more. He warned that large contributions were already hurting small businesses.

Seeking possible solutions, the CBI backs the increase of the basic state pension to £105 a week and the raising of the retirement age to 70. The latter proposal is strongly opposed by trade unions.

For its part, the government is reported to be putting off any final decisions until the Pension Commission’s report is published in full in mid-2005.

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