July 2, 2008 12:00 AM

Commenting on new figures from the Office of National Statistics, which show that the number of private sector workers that are members of occupational pension schemes has fallen by 400,000 since last year, Liberal Democrat Shadow Work and Pensions Secretary and MP for Cardiff Central, Jenny Willott, said:

"The accelerating decline in the number of people joining work pension schemes suggests that ministers have a long way to go to restore confidence in occupational pension schemes following the Government's appalling treatment of ASW workers and others who lost their pensions through no fault of their own.

"All the evidence shows that the Government should be encouraging people to save more and to save earlier in order to have a decent standard of living when they retire. But the experience of ASW workers trying to get their pensions restored has greatly undermined this vital message.

"At a time when people's minds will be focused on immediate financial pressures, it is essential that the Government encourages people to build up pension savings to avoid financial hardship in retirement.

"While the eventual settlement for ASW pension scheme holders is step in the right direction, the Government needs to do far more to undo the damage done to occupational pensions. This includes ensuring that the remaining people who lost their savings, who are either excluded from or unfairly treated by the settlement, get a fair pension deal."

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