UK - While contributions to open defined benefit pension schemes have increased steadily over the last three years, those to defined contributions plans have remained at a similar level, reveal new tables published by National Statistics.

Between 2004 and 2006, member and employer contributions to open DB schemes combined increased from 16.8% to 19.2%.

During the same period, 9.1% and 8.9% were paid into DC plans respectively.

"There is a marked and growing difference between contributions rates for 'defined benefit' and 'defined contribution' schemes in the private sector," National Statistics noted on a press release on the Occupational Pension Schemes Annual Report (OPSS) published today.

Member contributions to open DB schemes was 4.9% last year, while employers paid 14.2%. Among open DC schemes, the figures were 3% and 5.8% respectively.

Statistics also showed while 800,000 people paid over 6% into their open DB scheme last year, just 100,000 DC members did the same.

Last year, "there were an estimated 9.6 million active members of occupational pension schemes, of whom 4.4 million were in the private sector," the press release notes.

Membership in defined benefit schemes has fallen from 5.6 million in 1991 to 3.3 million in 2006.