Wednesday 18 September 2019

Give pension scheme collection to Revenue Commissioners, says FF

 

Action call: Willie O’Dea has told the Government to ‘get off the fence’. Photo: Tom Burke
Action call: Willie O’Dea has told the Government to ‘get off the fence’. Photo: Tom Burke
Hugh O'Connell

Hugh O'Connell

Revenue should collect pension contributions under the planned new automatic enrolment (AE) scheme, Fianna Fáil has said.

The party also wants the National Treasury Management Agency (NTMA) to administer the new pension fund so the State can guarantee a minimum return for retirees to avoid their funds being at risk in an economic downturn.

Social protection spokesman Willie O'Dea said the Government needed to "get off the fence" and introduce the AE scheme for the nearly 900,000 workers who have no private pension plan. The scheme, which would include contributions from the employee, employer and State, is not due to be rolled out until 2022.

Revenue should be given responsibility for collecting pension contributions as an addition to the employer and employee PRSI payments it currently collects, Mr O'Dea said.

He also wants the NTMA to administer the pension fund, given its "proven track record". Mr O'Dea said it should operate a hybrid of defined contribution and defined benefit schemes to guarantee a minimum return for contributors.

"The individual cannot be left high and dry at the mercy of the market," he said.

Mr O'Dea said Government plans for pension reform had "disappeared into the Bermuda Triangle" since last year "despite the fact that the pension system is growing inexorably as a problem".

Mr O'Dea also called on the Government to accept Fianna Fáil's private member's bill to outlaw the practice of people being forced to retire at 65.

The Department of Social Protection said a progress report on the public consultation on automatic enrolment would be brought before ministers after the summer recess.

The Government plans to set up a central processing authority to collect pension contributions from employers, employees and the State, and set out a number of approved private sector providers to administer the scheme.

Revenue said a change to its role is a matter for the Finance Minister and the Oireachtas. The NTMA said it would be "inappropriate to comment".

Irish Independent

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