Equality and income security must be at centre of pensions policy – Ó Snodaigh
Speaking following the publication of the OECD “Review of the Irish Pension System” today, Sinn Féin Spokesperson on Social Protection Aengus Ó Snodaigh said that any changes to pension arrangements must deliver equitable income security for pensioners.
Deputy Ó Snodaigh said;
“We are currently examining the detail of this report with a view to developing a fuller response, however the bottom is that any changes to pension arrangements must deliver equitable income security for future pensioners.
“Our preferred option would be the extension of the state pension and a universal ‘basic-income’ funded out of the general taxation system that is progressive and redistributive and guarantees a decent standard of living for men and women.
“Current pension policy is neither equitable nor progressive. It fails lower paid workers and women. Even in the midst of a recession, the high cost of tax reliefs for private pensions has never been addressed.
“It is wholly imbalanced that those with higher incomes can take advantage of excessively generous tax incentives paid for by all workers, including low paid workers through the taxation system.
“Any proposal for a mandatory private pension scheme must be shelved. Low paid workers simply cannot afford to fork out any more out of their wages. Everyone person should have the right to retire with sufficient income and not be forced by financial necessity to work or to live in destitution in old age.
“One could ask reasonable questions about this push towards private pensions. Banks and financial institutions, stock market traders and analysts all have a significant financial interest in promoting increased private pension coverage.
“The public interest demands a closer examination of who really benefits from increased investment in private pensions schemes.”