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Archived Annuities News / Income Drawdown News

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Auto-enrolment welcomed by trade unions and industry bodies

The official roll out of automatic enrolment into workplace pension schemes has been welcomed by trade unions and industry bodies.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) argued that the scheme was the start of a "pensions new deal", which will finally require employers to play an active role in their workers’ retirement funds.

“Too many employers have walked away from their responsibilities, and now just one in three private sector workers are in a pension, threatening many with a miserable retirement,” said TUC general secretary Brendan Barber.

“Of course it can and should be made better, but we now have what should be a stable framework,” he added.

Under the scheme staff will start by making a minimum contribution of just 0.8% of their pensionable earnings, while employers will have to pay in 1% of their employees' pensionable earnings.

Funds will be further boosted by tax relief contributing an additional 0.2%. These contributions will then rise to 4% from the employee, 3% from the employer, and 1% from the government.

This would mean that when the 8% full contribution rate is reached an employee on £20,000 a year would see their pension pot boosted by an annual figure of £1,154.88 in combined contributions.

The design of the scheme, which is staggered until 2018 and includes the smallest employers from 2015, also attracted praise from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), one of the UK's leading independent employers' organisations.

"The change is rightly being phased over many years, to ensure it remains affordable for businesses in these tough times," said director general John Cridland.

The Department for Work and Pensions forecasts that around 600,000 more people in the UK could be saving into a workplace pension by the end of the year as a result of automatic enrolment. By May 2014, 4.3 million people are set to have signed up to a workplace pension.

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