July 2, 2008 12:01 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, Jenny Willott said:

"This is an extremely worrying trend. All the evidence shows that people need to be saving more and saving earlier in order to have a decent standard of living when they retire. Unfortunately, these figures suggest that the reverse may be happening.

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

"At the same time, innovation must be encouraged to ensure employers can continue to offer competitive schemes - this will be increasingly difficult in an economic downturn."

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