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UK sees rise in occupational pension income

UK – The UK’s statistical office says growth in retirement income has come from “substantial” rises in the income from occupational pensions and other sources

“Growth in incomes over the last 20 years has stemmed from substantial increases in incomes from occupational pensions, investments and benefits,” the Office for National Statistics said.

It said occupational pensions account for 27% of retirement income, with 51% coming from state benefits and a total of 18% from earnings and investment income. Three percent came from personal pensions.

And it said that 61% of ‘pensioner units’ had income from an occupational pension, while nine percent had personal pension income.

It added: “The proportion of pensioner units reporting income from occupational pensions rose from 40% in 1979 to 57% in 1996/7.”

“The proportion with some form of private (occupational and/or personal) pension income has continued to rise in recent years – up from 59% of pensioner units in 1994/5 to 66% in 2002/3.”

It added that average income from occupational pensions rose by about 36% between 1995/5 and 2002/3.

The data comes as former social security minister Frank Field has tabled an amendment to the Pension Bill, calling for compensation for members of occupational schemes not covered by the Pension Protection Fund.

"Government must now demonstrate the political will to act and compensate those who have lost out when their company has gone bust,” said Tony Woodley, general secretary of the T&G transport union. “The pensions robbery is scandalous and it is the key issue members raise with the union as it has undermined faith in the pensions system.”

He added: “The T&G is backing Frank Field's amendment to the Pensions Bill and will be urging all T&G MPs to give it their support."

Christine Farnish, the chief executive of the National Association of Pension Funds, was quoted as telling a parliamentary committee that the government must use public funds to guarantee pension benefits to workers at engineering firm ASW.

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