Pension changes ‘not enough for older people’

Pension changes ‘not enough for older people’
Sean Healy, director of Social Justice Ireland.

GOVERNMENT plans for pension changes won't guarantee older people enough income 'to live with dignity', according to Dr Sean Healy, the director of Social Justice Ireland.

The Roadmap for Pensions Reform, unveiled last week, proposed a number of new initiatives, including auto-enrolment and a ‘total contribution approach’. But Social Justice Ireland said the plan has missed the opportunity to provide a universal pension as a basic right to all citizens.

“We would argue very strongly that older people should have enough income to live life with dignity and the only way to secure that is to make a universal pension that everyone of pension age can access,” Dr Healy told the Evening Echo.

He said the current system is skewed to favour the wealthy and Government plans don’t correct that.

“At the moment the tax breaks go predominantly to higher earners. More than 70% of the benefits go to the top 20% of earners. That is because they benefit at 40% whereas people on a lower income only benefit at 20%.” 

Social Justice Ireland’s proposal is to fund a universal pension system, which would be funded by the restructuring of the tax relief system on private pensions and an increase in Employer PRSI.

Dr Healy said, “Let everyone benefit at 20%. The balance saved should be used as a contribution toward the universal pension.” 

He said their plans have received the support of organisations such as ALONE, Age Action and Carers Ireland. The report was also welcomed by a number of parties, including Fianna Fáil, Labour, Sinn Féin and the Green party but they have received no response from Fine Gael.

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