The number of UK employees contributing to a workplace pension increased by around a quarter in the 5 years to 2017, according to new data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).

In 2017, 73% of employees were enrolled in a workplace pension scheme - up from less than 47% in 2012.

The ONS attributes much of the rise to the introduction of auto-enrolment in October 2012, which has brought more than 9.5 million people into pension schemes.

Although participation has increased, most contributions remain at minimum levels, which were 1% for both staff and employees in 2017/18.

The figures revealed that 48% employers and 57% employees contributed less than 2% into private sector pension schemes in 2017.

Steve Webb, director of policy at Royal London, said:

"It's great news that nearly 10 million extra workers are now saving in a pension because of automatic enrolment, but these figures show the champagne needs to be put on ice.

"The hard work of automatic enrolment will be in supporting workers and firms to get these contributions up to more realistic levels."

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