Minister must commit to Dáil debate on pensions – not kick to committee
Labour Party Social Protection Spokesperson Seán Sherlock has reiterated calls for the Minister for Social Protection to publish the Pension Commission report and commit to a Dáil debate on it as a matter of urgency. While the Government continues to kick the can on this issue, now to a sub-committee, Deputy Sherlock said people need certainty about the age at which they will receive their pension entitlements.
Deputy Sherlock said:
“We cannot accept the lopsided leaks emanating on this report for the future of pensions in this State. The Minister has the report. Publish it. Let’s hear from the Government parties their views on it and let’s have a full and frank debate on the report in the Dáil. Not silenced in sub-committee.”
“People are sick of the Government’s continued fudging of this issue. People need certainty. They want to be able to make plans for their future. It’s not fair on people and it’s not fair on employers. Indeed, throughout the pandemic, many of us reflected on our relationship with work. Therefore now, more than ever, the Government needs to grasp the nettle and provide certainty on the matter. The Labour Party has costed a plan that would enable people to retire at 66.
“In our submission to the Pension Commission, we outlined a range of measures that need to be addressed, including a State Pension Transition Payment in line with retirement rates, and a gender proofing of all pension policies. Specifically we want to see increased recognition for unpaid work, and the work of carers.
“As we have said before, while the Pensions Commission report will be a valuable contribution to this policy area, the Commission itself cannot be the final arbiter of this matter and it will require political commitment from the Government to address these issues. We need to see the report.”
The Labour Party submission to the Pension’s Commission recommended:
1. Retaining the pension age at 66.
2. Continued and detailed engagement with Civic Society & Trade Unions.
3. Ensuring a pension process which gives every citizen decency, dignity and a basic standard of living.
4. Formalise the State Pension Transition Payment to be in line with State Pension rates.
5. Allow flexibility on retirement age, should a person so desire to continue working.
6. Gender proof all State pension policies, to ensure that there is no bias against older women.
7. Increase recognition for unpaid work, and particularly for the work of carers.
8. Link social protection payments, including pensions to the cost of living, based on a new national cost of living index.