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Mandatory pensions will amount to further pay cuts for low paid workers – Ó Snodaigh

3 March, 2010 - by Aengus Ó Snodaigh TD


Reacting to the publication of the Government’s National Pension’s Framework by Minister Mary Hanafin today Sinn Féin Social and Family Affairs spokesperson Aengus Ó Snodaigh said the introduction of mandatory pensions would amount to a further pay cut for low paid workers and would undermine the public pension system.

He said many lower paid workers will have no option but to opt out of the scheme.

Deputy Ó Snodiagh said the Government should focus on developing an equitable public pension system to provide income security for all in their later years funded through progressively raised taxation.

He said:

“The only sustainable long term solution to the pension problem arising from the ageing of our population is to pursue family friendly policies so that the workforce can be replenished at a sufficient rate to support the growing number of pensioners. The government must reverse the cuts to child benefit and the early childcare supplement. It must go further and put in place an infrastructure of top quality affordable child care provision and implement family friendly workplace policies etc.

“Mandatory pensions will amount to a further pay cut for lower paid workers who are struggling to make ends meet as it is, it would undermine the public pension system, there is no guarantee that what you will get out of it in the end will be sufficient to meet your needs.

“The scheme announced by the Minister today is designed in a way that will mean many low paid workers will have no option but to opt out of it.

“Incentivising private pensions particularly through tax relief has its own costs with hundreds of millions of euro in tax forgone by the Exchequer every year. These reliefs should be progressively eliminated with special care taken not to put further income pressure on those who are struggling as it is. We are strongly of the view that intergenerational solidarity – whereby each generation agrees to provide for its pensioners on the basis that the next generation will look after them – remains viable and is arguably a much less risky strategy than investing in private pension schemes which are at the mercy of volatile markets.

“The government should focus on developing an equitable public pension system to provide income security for all in their later years funded through progressively raised taxation. Sinn Féin pre-budget submission detailed to scope that is there to increase revenue by taxing higher earners and wealth.” ENDS

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