By Daniel Hunter

The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) have confirmed that the closure of private sector pension schemes accelerated in 2012.

Data from its annual survey, of 1,018 schemes run by 280 private sector firms, found that only 13% were still open to new joiners, down from 19% in 2011. Meanwhile 31% were now closed to existing staff as well, up from 23% the previous year.

"The pressures on final salary pensions have proven too great for many businesses. The growing liabilities fuelled by quantitative easing will have been a factor behind the record hike in closures," Joanne Segars, chief executive of the NAPF, said.

"What was once the norm is now a very rare offer. And those who are currently saving into one may find it gets closed."

The NAPF repeated its criticism of the government policy of quantitative easing (QE), which started nearly four years ago and which has helped push many final-salary schemes into large deficits.

This policy has seen the Bank of England pick up a third of all UK government bonds, in an attempt to inject cheap cash into the banking system and stave off an even deeper economic recession.

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