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Thursday 22 August 2019

Future hikes in the State pension age set to cost workers 'at least €26,000'

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Anne-Marie Walsh

Future hikes in the State pension age will cost workers at least €26,000, plus benefits including free travel and the fuel allowance, a conference has heard.

Laura Bambrick, social policy officer at the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (Ictu), said planned increases in the qualifying age from 66 today to 67 in 2021 and 68 in 2028 are a particular concern.

"For each year the Government increases the pension qualifying age it will cost workers €13,000, plus secondary benefits such as free travel and the fuel allowance," she said.

"If they have a dependant spouse it will cost them an additional €11,500 and €1,700 for each child.

"This is the biggest ever cut to the social safety net for working people."

Her figures are based on the loss of the State pension worth almost €13,000 a year as the qualifying age gets higher.

Meanwhile, senior Unite officer Brendan Ogle said there is a "poverty gap" between low pay and high rents.

He called for continued increases in the minimum wage of €9.80 an hour to bring it into line with the pay level needed to cover basic needs - known as the living wage - which has been calculated at €12.30.

"The living wage is calculated as the income needed to ensure a minimum acceptable standard of living, and is based on painstaking research into a range of costs as well as taxation impacts.

"The increase announced today is primarily driven by spiralling housing costs, with rents in Dublin now accounting for over half - or nearly 52pc - of a single person's minimum living costs," said Mr Ogle.

Irish Independent

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