UK - Voluntary pensions contributions by UK residents have almost halved in the past 12 months, leaving investors unlikely to meet their retirment income aims, suggests research conducted by life assurer Prudential.

A study of 1500 responses through an online survey, conducted on behalf of Prudential by Experian, suggests the amount non-retired pay into company and private pension arrangements has dropped from £279.38 a month in April 2007 to just £134 a month in March 2008.

This is despite evidence from the same Prudential 2008 Retirement Savings report suggesting UK females expect to draw an average annual pension of £22,502 a year while men expect to draw a pension of £26,355 a year.

At the same time, evidence indicated over half (55%) of non-retired adults said they do not contribute at all to either an occupational or private pension - a fraction up on the 54% who said in 2007 they do not contribute to a pension.

Gary Shaughnessy, managing director of retail life and pensions at Prudential, said this is especially worrying as the average 20-year-old man would need to save £286 every month until the age of 65 in order to achieve this, while the average 20-year-old woman would need to be saving £304 per month to the age of 65.

"It is deeply concerning to see that the amount UK adults are personally paying into pension schemes has fallen so dramatically in the past year. With rising prices and a squeeze on savings, reducing pension contributions may look like an attractive short-term option, but the reality is that continuing to save as early as possible is vital if people are to build a pension pot large enough to maintain their lifestyle in retirement," he added.