Business Pensions

Saturday 10 December 2016

Pressure on Burton over support for pension plan

Published 14/05/2015 | 02:30

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, has been accused of kicking plans for a mandatory pension into touch by setting up another committee to discuss it
Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Joan Burton, has been accused of kicking plans for a mandatory pension into touch by setting up another committee to discuss it

Most people are in favour of introducing a mandatory pension for the almost one million workers with no retirement plan in place.

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The results of a survey by market research firm iReach for the Irish Association of Pension Funds (IAPF) - and seen by the Irish Independent - will put pressure on Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton, who has been accused of kicking plans for a mandatory pension into touch by setting up another committee to discuss it.

The survey, carried out on 1,000 people, shows that 70pc are in favour of the Government introducing some form of mandatory pension scheme to encourage more people to save for retirement.

Middle-aged adults - those between the ages of 35 and 54 - are slightly more reticent about such a pension plan.

It comes as the Government has been accused of acting "recklessly" by failing to put in place reforms needed to defuse the pensions time bomb.

Ms Burton and Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Brendan Howlin have engaged in "quango reshuffling" and are ignoring recommendations made in an OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) report commissioned by the Government on pensions, experts said.

And they said there was no clear roadmap for much-needed pensions reform, despite a string of report being commissioned on the problem.

The Government insists a large number of changes have been implemented.

But these alterations have been dismissed as "tinkering" by Ciaran Phelan of the Irish Brokers Association.

The IAPF said the majority of recommendations in three major reports on pensions have yet to be implemented. Some of the reports go back eight years.

Jerry Moriarty of the IAPF, which represents trustees of private pensions, said: "The Government has commissioned multiple reports over many years and still there is no clear roadmap or framework."

He said that in February the Tánaiste announced the setting up of a new group to "develop a roadmap and timeline" for the introduction of a new universal supplementary retirement savings scheme.

"Our survey results hammer home the real need for such an initiative sooner rather than later, and in a pre-election year the minister and the Government alike should capitalise on the widespread support this survey reveals."

Dispute

A spokeswoman for Ms Burton, who has responsibility for pensions policy, disputed the claims of the experts.

Her spokeswoman said: "There has been significant reform of the Irish pension system over the last number of years and many of the recommendations contained within previous policy reports (including the OECD Review) have been implemented or are currently in planning."

Her department denied that an "ultra conservative" approach was taken to private pensions.

The group set up to plan for a universal pension plan would produce a "roadmap for consideration by the Government", the spokeswoman added.

Irish Independent

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