The National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) is a national pension scheme that all employees earning over a certain sum will be automatically enrolled into. The scheme, due to start in 2012, has been on the drawing board for several years now.
The Government has announced the income threshold for joiners will be £7,745 (although contributions will be based on earnings above the National Insurance threshold, currently £5,715) from 1 October 2012 and the scheme will be phased in over 4 years, with only those companies employing 120,000 or more people having to implement the scheme from day 1 (which is probably not that many).
By 2017 employees will have to contribute 4% and employers 3%, with 1% tax relief. But at the start it seems overall contributions will only have to be 2% - far too low for a decent pension. There are a number of potential issues surrounding NEST (see the bottom of our pension page for more info), especially the Government's proposed 2% charge on contributions intended to claw back the costs of setting up the scheme - although 0.3% annual charges should prove very competitive.
The ideal is worthy, but I've yet to be convinced that NEST will be a success.