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Pension

Poverty focus is an annual publication from Social Justice Ireland where we focus on the nature and experience of poverty in Ireland. Drawing on the available statistical evidence, we outline how poverty is measured, the value of the poverty line and consider many of the groups in our society who are most exposed to living life below the poverty line.

Last week, the Central Statistics Office published the results of its annual Pensions Survey. Much of the reaction suggested that things would be much better if private pension coverage in Ireland was higher than it is. However given its expense, and the way the benefits accrue mainly to the better off, we're not so sure. Here's the counter argument....

As the DEASP announces some key design features of its proposed Automatic Enrolment pension scheme, our analysis suggests that AE represents poor value for money, with minimal benefit to the State unless the long-term plan is to run down the value of the State pension and force people to rely on their private savings.

Pension-related tax reliefs are an expensive means of subsidising retirement savings for the better off, with little financial benefit to the State. The current system has a very high fiscal cost, yet is currently failing to meet its targets in relation to coverage and income adequacy. In this article, we show that the arguments in favour of continuing this perverse incentive system do not stack up. There is no fiscal benefit to the exchequer in either the short or the long term.

Social Justice Ireland makes the case for an increase in core social welfare rates of €9 per week for single people in Budget 2020 to ensure the welfare benchmark is maintained at the Pre-Budget Forum in Dublin Castle.

The Irish Pension system is in need of significant reform. Unfortunately policymakers have limited the scope of this reform to introducing Automatic Enrolment and very little else. In any format and by any measure, Auto Enrolment will greatly increase the (already significant) cost to the Exchequer of a private system that is failing to achieve its goals.A forthcoming conference, organised by the Pension Policy Research Group, will look at aspects of Auto Enrolment and the implications for the Irish pension system.

Society should reward people who have spent their lives in caring roles, but the current State Pension system deprives them of security in their old age. As the rollout of the Government’s Roadmap for Pensions Reform continues, an opportunity to increase the fairness of the Irish pension system is being missed, and at a substantial financial cost.

The Government’s new Pensions plan has missed the opportunity to provide a Universal Pension as a basic right to all citizens. It has also failed to address major issues around equity, sustainability and bureaucracy that have underpinned Ireland’s pension system for generations. Read Social Justice Ireland's new report: A Universal State Social Welfare Pension.

Some tax proposals currently being considered by Government should be rejected because they would give far greater benefit to people earning higher incomes than to lower income employees according to a new study conducted by Social Justice Ireland.

Without the social welfare system almost 50 per cent of the Irish population would have been living in poverty in 2014.  Adequate social welfare payments are required to prevent an increase in poverty.  Between 2010 and early 2016 inflation was 3.44 per cent - implying that a buying power of €188 in 2010 was equivalent to €194.50 by February 2016. 

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