Protect public sector pensions - says Foyle MLA

SDLP MLA for Foyle Mark H. Durkan has called on the Minister for Finance and Personnel and the Executive to reconsider the implementation of the Public Services Pensions Bill as it stands.

The Bill will introduce a new careers average revalued earnings (CARE) model to replace the final salary link which will increase the normal pension age in line with the state pension age.

Speaking after the debate, Mr Durkan said: “We have a significant number of people employed in the public sector in the North, and many of these people are on middle to low incomes. We oppose this Bill on the grounds that it will adversely impact low income public service workers. It will require public service workers to work for longer, contribute more, but receive less in terms of their pensions. The SDLP will stand beside public sector workers, who are part of the fabric of our society, in opposing this legislation.”

“The SDLP acknowledge the need to reform public service pensions so that they take account of changing circumstances in our society. However, we feel that reforms should be aimed precisely where the problem lies. The spiralling costs of pension provision can be attributed to extremely high final salaries at the top end of the scale.”

“We believe that a system could be implemented that is underpinned by principles of progressivity and redistribution. Such a system would allow money to be saved at the very top levels and protect those most in need on much lower incomes.”