IRELAND - Seamus Brennan, the Minister for Social & Family Affairs has brought the statutory review of pensions coverage in Ireland forward 12 months to mid this year, on the back of growing concerns on the pace of change.
The review was originally scheduled to take place in September 2006. “I am concerned that only 59% of workers over age 30 have supplementary pensions given that the target is 70%; I am concerned that only 43% of women in the State have pensions; I am concerned that people in their 20s taking up jobs make no pension provision. These are the fundamental issues that I want to tackle during my tenure,” said the minister speaking in the Dail today.
He added: “I am concerned at the pace of change. I have therefore asked the Pensions Board to bring forward, from September 2006 to mid this year, the completion of the review of the current strategy, which is required under the Pensions Act. Getting a balanced strategy is a real challenge and I will keep this House apprised of developments.” As part of the review process, the Pensions Board commissioned a study from economic consultants, Indecon, on how to incentivise PRSA coverage in Ireland and has now received the draft report.
“We commissioned economic consultants, Indecon, to carry out research on ways PRSAs could be further incentivised and that report has been made available to us and that’s one of the issues that we would be considering as part of our deliberations for the review. That is one major thing that will feed into that process,” said Mary Hutch, head of information and training, Pensions Board in Ireland.
Also announced today was the social welfare package for 2005, which amounts to e874m, almost a 40% increase on the 2004 package of e630m. This brings the projected level of social welfare expenditure in 2005 to over e12.25bn.
“This level of expenditure is the highest ever on social welfare and is indicative of the government’s priority to protect and improve the living standards of social welfare recipients,” added the minister.
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