The changing generosity of the UK state pension system to the self-employed

By Mihai Alexandru Codreanu, Rowena Crawford, Jonathan Cribb and Carl Emmerson

This report analyses state pension provision for the self-employed in the context of these two underlying trends: the rising number of the self-employed and the increasing universality of the UK state pension system. We document trends over time in both the proportion of individuals who, although in paid work, do not accrue a qualifying year towards their state pension and in the value of a qualifying year for working-age adults over time.

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Retirement saving of the self-employed

By Rowena Crawford and Heidi Karjalainen

The proportion of self-employed workers contributing to a private pension has been steadily declining since the 1990s. This is in contrast to private-sector employees, for whom the rate of pension participation has dramatically increased as a result of automatic enrolment. Furthermore, even before the introduction of automatic enrolment, the rate of decline in pension participation was faster among the self-employed than private-sector employees.

In this report, we seek to explain this decline in pension saving amongst the self-employed. We examine the extent to which the decline has been driven by the changing characteristics of the self-employed population. We then explore changing attitudes towards pension saving, and changes in other forms of saving that might represent alternative ways of saving for retirement (and therefore provide an explanation for the patterns in pension saving).

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