Earners face pensions burden

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Private pensions may have to become compulsory to fund the growing number of pensioners, according to a report out today.

Pensioners and taxpayers face a bleak future throughout Europe unless the funding time-bomb is defused now, the Federal Trust for Education and Research said. Lower birth rates mean a decreasing working population paying for an increasing number of pensioners as people retire earlier and live longer.

Europe's governments cannot afford to pay adequate pensions through the state system, the think tank says, calling for a new partnership with the private sector to bridge the gap.

One solution for Britain, according to the author of the report, Dick Taverne, may be to make it compulsory for people to make their own pension arrangements while relying on the state for just a basic payment.