The Association of Consulting Actuaries is warning that the Government's proposals to encourage occupational pensions are more likely to discourage provision and add to employers' costs.
An ACA survey found that of the 459 responses from smaller firms, only 8 per cent said the Pensions Bill would increase occupational pension schemes in individual businesses.
The ACA's report, entitled, 2004 Smaller Firms Pensions Survey: A Divided Nation, says those working in bigger private sector firms and the public sector enjoy greater security as there is a willingness to bear the costs and liabilities whereas smaller firms will suffer.
Respondents appeared sceptical of the Government's regulatory assessment which suggests that the Pensions Bill will mean overall savings of £130m.
The majority of respondents say a £15 levy for the pension protection fund is excessive and 40 per cent of firms say a levy of £10 a head is too much.
ACA chairman Gordon Pollock Pollock says: “Our respondents seem to have few illusions that the extra regulation involved will deter wider coverage rather than encourage wider provision.”
Tony Catt IFA sole practitioner Tony Catt says: “The Pensions Bill does little to make more provision for small companies. The Government has missed several opportunities to make pension contributions compulsory and has merely appeared to do something but actually achieved nothing.”