UK - The UK is now straddled with a bigger pensions gap per individual than any other country in Europe.

A study conducted by Aviva and Deloitte estimates that the overall UK pensions shortfall - the difference between the income needed to live "comfortably" in retirement and the actual income individuals can expect - now stands at more than £318bn (€379bn).

That means UK workers retiring between 2011 and 2051 will have to ferret away £10,300 on average every year to close the gap.

By comparison, workers in Germany will have to put aside €11,600 apiece to account for the country's €468.8bn shortfall, while the Irish, French and Spanish will have to save €9,100, €7,900 and €7,000, respectively.

Toby Strauss, chief executive at Aviva UK Life, said the findings were startling.

"Today's research should act as a wake-up call for individuals and governments across Europe, particularly in the UK," he said.

Meanwhile, roughly 45% of UK pension schemes have failed to review of their member data over the last two years, according to a survey by JLT Benefit Solutions.

Even for those that have conducted reviews, an "alarming number" of those reviews were related to concerns about data, the consultancy said.

JLT said about one-third of schemes that carried out a review in the last two years received a rating of 'average' or worse, while more than half (60%) admitted that data-quality issues had resulted in increased costs for their schemes.

The survey was part of a joint research initiative with the Pensions Management Institute looking into the changing relationship between pension scheme administration and effective scheme governance.

Andrew Marson, head of trustee governance, said the findings showed a significant proportion of schemes were "way behind the curve".

Finally, new figures by the Department of Work & Pensions (DWP) show a decrease in the number of private sector employers who contribute toward their workers' retirement scheme.

The government department's Employers' Pension Provision Survey 2009 showed that between 2007 and last year, the percentage of private sector firms making provisions for retirement appeared to fall by 13 percentage points to 28%.

It noted that the 72% of companies not offering their employees any way of saving for retirement would often cite their size as a reason, with more than a third doing so, while 15% argued they were unable to afford it.

Additionally, fewer than one in 10 firms not offering pensions had plans to introduce them by 2014, which the DWP said was due to the fact many of the respondents were surveyed before it began an education campaign about auto-enrolment, scheduled to launch in 2012.

The DWP also noted in separate research that 2012 would see 800,000 baby boomers turn 65, increasing the strain placed on the state pension system.

It said since the first wave of baby boomers began early retirement at 60 in 2005, spending on state pensions had risen by £14bn, while it will increase by an additional £4bn by 2012.