THOUSANDS OF agricultural workers are working their way towards a “bleak” retirement below the breadline, warns the charity Age Concern.

More than 70% of workers in the farming industry don’t even have access to a pension at work and many will be reliant on a “meagre” state pension to provide their retirement income.

Research across all industries, meanwhile, shows that a third of workers earning between 10,400 and 15,600, and a fifth of those earning between 15,600 and 31,200, have no current private provision.

And with the poorest eligible for means-tested benefits when they retire, it is those on a modest wage that will face the biggest drop in income after retirement.

“With the government failing to improve the UK’s failing state system and the uptake of occupational pensions so low, millions of ordinary workers will have no choice but to work longer or face poverty in later life,” says Age Concern”s director general Gordon Lishman.

Plans to force people to save into a private pension are unlikely to solve the pensions crisis as millions of people cannot afford to save, cannot afford to shoulder more risk, or simply do not have access to a pension scheme at work, adds Mr Lishman.

“Now is the time for the government to take control of the pensions crisis and commit itself to improving the state pension system.”