DENMARK - The total amount Danes contribute to pension schemes will drop by 5.5% this year, marking the first annual decrease in more than 12 years, according to a forecast from the Danish Insurance Association (F&P).

New tax legislation and rising unemployment were to blame for the decrease in retirement saving, it said.

In 2010, contributions are likely to be DKK6bn (€806m) less than the 2009 total, amounting to around DKK110bn for this year as a whole, according to the F&P's study.

Carsten Andersen, deputy director at F&P, said: "We expect a fall in pension contributions - the tax reform and the new DKK100,000 ceiling meant many people brought forward their contributions and saved more than usual in 2009.

"There will be less money this year."

As part of the Danish government's 2010 tax reform, an annual ceiling of DKK100,000 has been introduced from this year for payments by an individual into pension schemes with less than life-long coverage.

Andersen said: "Falling employment is also putting pressure on pension contributions.

"Fewer people in work means fewer contributing to their labour market pensions."

However, the association predicted contributions would increase again next year and possibly reach the record level seen in 2009.

The forecast is for around DKK116bn in total contributions for 2011.

"In 2011, Danes will put more into the pensions once again," Andersen said.

"But how big the rise is depends in particular on how employment and pay develops."
Between 1998 and 2009, Danish pension contributions rose by a yearly average of 8%, the association said.