Headlines: January 15th, 2001

New research has revealed that there is a big public education programme to be conducted if the vast majority of those people for whom they are designed are to be persuaded to take up their own pension provision.A new report for the DSS examines public attitudes to planning for retirement and pensions, including stakeholder pensions. The report is based on analyses of interviews conducted in Britain with almost 1700 adults.

It found that seven in ten working age respondents had given at least some thought to their income in retirement, but almost half had no more than a ‘patchy’ knowledge of pensions.

Public opinion was divided on who should be mainly responsible for ensuring that people have enough to live on in retirement: 42 per cent thought it should be the government, 50 per cent the individual/their family. Very few thought that it should be employers (four per cent). Those most likely to think that the individual should be responsible were also those in a better position to provide for themselves

Of those questioned, 52 per cent of employees belonged to an occupational scheme and 59 per cent of self-employed people interviewed had a personal pension. Nearly thirty per cent overall had no non-state provision planned.

Around a quarter of working age adults had heard of stakeholder pensions, a year before they become available to the public.

A free summary of the report, Pensions 2000: Public Attitudes to Pensions and Planning for Retirement (Report No. 130 ISBN 1 84123 295 5) is available from Jim Hughes at the DSS Social Research Branch (020 7962 8562).