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Pension scheme contributions halved last year

The average contribution paid into a company or private pension scheme has almost halved in the last 12 months, it has been revealed. According to researched conducted for the Prudential 2008 Retirement Savings Report, the average contribution to such schemes over the last year was £144.57 per month. Over the course of 2006, this figure had stood at £279.38 per month, the insurance giant said. Gary Shaughnessy, managing director of Prudential's retail life & pensions division, described the findings as "deeply concerning" and urged workers not to neglect their financial future. He said: "With rising prices and a squeeze on savings, reducing pension contributions may look like an attractive short-term option, but the reality is that continuing to save as early as possible is vital if people are to build a pension pot large enough to maintain their lifestyle in retirement." Mr Shaughnessy added: "While we always encourage people to look at their wider wealth portfolios (including housing equity and other savings) the current uncertain economic conditions and concerns over house-price deflation means that maintaining pension contributions is more important now than ever."The survey also found that the number of people who make no contributions to company pension schemes rose by one per cent in 2007.

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