BUSINESS leaders in Oxfordshire say they are less than impressed by what has been billed as Britain’s biggest overhaul of pensions in a generation.

Under the new system, employers will have to automatically enrol workers into a pension scheme.

The six-year programme is designed to force employees to save for their old age and to subsidise their state pensions.

Only companies employing 120,000 people, such as some supermarket chains, are affected immediately.

Margaret Coles, chairman of the Oxfordshire Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) told the Oxford Mail: “We are pleased that the scheme is coming in gradually, over a period of six years, with only the very largest employers affected immediately.

“That has happened as a result of lobbying by the FSB.

“These extra costs and administration would have been difficult for our members during these hard times.

“But we hope things will be better by the time they are phased in for smaller employers.”

Until now employees had to opt in to any scheme their employer offered. Now they will need to opt out.

Nigel Wild, president of the Oxfordshire Chamber of Commerce, added: “It’s a bit of a damp squib because many employees will opt out and go and invest in something else, thinking that at the end of their career they won’t get a lot.

“The intention is right but not practicable.”