Fewer than four out of 10 people are saving in a pension, with retirement saving at its lowest level for a decade, according to figures from the Department for Work and Pensions.
DWP data shows that only 38 per cent of working-age people – 11.6 million out of 30.4 million people – are saving into a private pension.
The figures show a steady decline in pension saving between 1999/2000 and 2009/10, with the decrease being most dramatic among men and the under 40s.
While the overall number of people saving into a private pension fell from 46 per cent in 1999/00 to 38 per cent in 2009/10, pension saving among men fell from 52 per cent to 39 per cent. Among people aged between 20 and 39 years old pension provision fell from 43 per cent to 31 per cent.
The analysis also reveals a map of pension provision across the UK in 2009/10, with higher pension provision in the South East (43 per cent), Scotland (42 per cent), the South West (41 per cent) and the East (41 per cent), and lowest pension participation in Northern Ireland (33 per cent), London (34 per cent) and West Midlands (34 per cent).
The figures come from the Family Resources Survey, which interviewed around 25,000 private households across the UK.
Pensions minister Steve Webb says: “These are alarming figures and they underscore exactly why our pension reforms will be so vital. With fewer people saving into a pension, lower annuity rates and an average of 23 years in retirement, many people could face a poorer future in their later lives.
“We simply must put a stop to this trend and get people saving. Automatic enrolment, beginning for the largest employers later this year, will get millions of people saving, many for the first time.”