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Last Updated: Friday, 10 November 2006, 08:18 GMT
Workplace pensions 'could be cut'
The funding of people's retirement is set for major reform
Two-thirds of employers may cut pension payments to new staff when a government-backed savings scheme begins in 2012, a survey has suggested.

The survey, by Scottish Widows, also said 23% of firms would cut pension contributions for existing staff.

The government's system of Personal Accounts will compel employers to pay 3% of salary into workers' pensions.

Critics say this could lead to firms who currently pay a higher pension cutting contributions to the 3% level.

This action has been dubbed "levelling down" by pension experts.

Pension reforms

Personal Accounts were first proposed by Lord Turner in a series of reports into the UK pensions system. Who will operate the system - insurers or the government - has yet to be decided.

Contributions would come from employers, staff and the government through tax-relief.

But the proposed employer contributions into the Personal Accounts are below the level of many existing workplace pension schemes, hence the 'levelling down' theory.

The Scottish Widows survey was based on interviews with 750 employers.

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