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What possible incentive can there be for working people to take part in the new workplace pension scheme, after seeing so many stories about pension funds being raided by bosses in the past?

Staff at the UK’s biggest companies are being enrolled in the scheme automatically, although there is the possibility of opting out. The idea is that both workers and employers will pay four per cent of the employees’ salary into the scheme, to create an extra fund that will supplement the current state pension and put an end to the drastic decline in workers’ pension provision.

But you have to ask yourself: Why has there been a drastic decline in pension provision in the first place?

Isn’t it because employers behaved abominably, ignoring their responsibilities, raiding the funds whenever possible (Robert Maxwell was the most famous of these, back before he fell off his yacht), and leaving the workers with nothing?

Isn’t it because employees, who put their faith in schemes that were supposed to supplement the state pension, then found themselves left feeling that they had been mugged by their own bosses, as one caller to a radio show on the subject said today? She started paying into a scheme 20 years ago, only to find that today it is worth nothing.

The new system is supposed to be about encouraging people – especially the young – to think about saving for a time after they have retired, to provide the comfortable retirement they can see others enjoying now.

But my response – in line with that of another caller to the same radio programme – is this: Why not just put the money into your own bank account and keep it there? That way, even if you do have to use some of it to cover life’s ups and downs, you’ll only have yourself to blame and not some faceless company suit-wearer who couldn’t care less about your future.

I smell a rip-off.