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Fury at threat to pension relief

PRIVATE sector workers will be alienated from their public sector peers if the Government presses ahead with its planned 21pc cut on income tax relief on pension contributions, say experts.

The cost of funding for private savers will increase by as much as 57pc compared to the previous year if the Government goes ahead with its plan of cutting tax relief from 41pc to 20pc, financial services giant Standard Life has said. "It's breathtaking that the Government deems it fitting to force the private sector to pay for lavish public sector pensions for themselves, while preventing them from saving towards such a pension for themselves," said Standard Life Ireland chief executive, Nigel Dunne, pictured above.

The company also urged Fine Gael to follow through on its suggestion of imposing a 0.6pc levy on public sector pensions -- which could raise €46m.

"This would provide reassurance that the public and private sectors are treated more fairly," Mr Dunne said.

"We mustn't overlook the principles of fairness for the sake of convenience."

The 2010 annual report from the Comptroller & Auditor General showed that the accrued costs of public service pensions amounts to €129bn.