Most businesses would support auto-enrolment being made available to lower earners and the self-employed, research from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Scottish Widows shows.

In a survey of 240 businesses, nearly three-quarters (74%) said they want to see auto-enrolment extended to the self-employed and people earning less than £10,000.

The vast majority recognised the business and moral case for providing a competitive workplace pension, and many felt the scheme would need to go further in the future.

Auto-enrolment applies to UK employees who are aged between 22 and state pension age, and earn at least £10,000 a year.

It requires their employer to automatically enrol them into a workplace pension scheme and make contributions at a minimum rate.

As of 6 April 2019, employers must contribute at least 3% of a worker's qualifying earnings to their pension scheme, while employees make up the rest of the contributions to 8%.

Among the businesses surveyed by the CBI, 71% agreed that minimum employer contributions will need to rise at some point for their employees to have sufficient levels of retirement income.

However, only 27% believe the Government should increase employer minimum contributions at this point in time, and 40% think employee contributions should rise.

Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at the CBI, said:

"While higher contributions will be needed in the future, now is not the time to raise mandatory contributions again.

"The Government must first be given the chance to deliver the findings of the auto-enrolment review and fully assess the impact of the increase to contributions in April 2019."

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