UK – Increases in the number of people who retire with an occupational pension have been a major factor in the decline of poverty among pensioners in recent years, according to research commissioned by the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF).

The report, entitled “Poverty among Pensioners” by Pamela Meadows, visiting fellow of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, also claims that most pensioners in the UK are not poor.

Eight out of ten of today’s pensioners have a standard of living at least as high as the average level achieved by the whole population in 1995, says the report.

It adds: “A substantial portion of this improvement is due to the marked increase in the proportion of retired people who get occupational pensions.
“ Receipt of an occupational pension is one of the most important factors in reducing an individual’s probability of being poor…and one of the factors which has influenced the decline in poverty amongst pensioners in recent years is the increase in the proportion of people who have a pension from a former employer.”

Peter Thompson, chairman of the NAPF, says the findings demonstrate the importance of occupational pensions as a source of income in retirement for the majority of employees.
“At the same time, occupational pensions reduce dependence on the safety net of means-tested state benefits. We urge the government to do all in its power to ensure that occupational pension schemes continue to be the welfare success story in the 21st century which they are widely acknowledged as having been in the 20th century.”