Pensions - Articles - Deepening pensions divide between public and private sector

Royal London comment on The Pension Protection Fund's annual ‘Purple Book’ statistical analysis of private sector Defined Benefit pensions for 2017

 The report shows a further decline in the number of ‘active’ members of salary-related pension schemes in the private sector, down from 3.6m when the series started in 2006 to 1.3m in 2017. This includes a fall of around 0.2m in the last year. The report does not cover public sector pension schemes, but separate data from the Office for National Statistics shows that the number of public sector workers in salary-related pension schemes *rose* over the period 2006-2016 from 5.1 m to 5.7m.

 Commenting, Steve Webb, Director of Policy, Royal London said: ‘These latest figures show a deepening divide between public and private sector workers when it comes to membership of salary-related pension schemes. Private sector employers are voting with their feet, closing schemes both to new workers and to existing scheme members. Membership of salary-related schemes in the private sector has slumped by nearly two thirds over little more than a decade. By contrast, the number of public sector workers building up salary-related rights has actually risen in the last decade. Although public sector pensions have been significantly reformed in recent years, on present trends public sector workers could soon be the only people in Britain able to build up salary-related pensions’.


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