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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 13 April 2021

Do you have a pension? You might be forced to get one*

*When the economy gets better and pay goes up.

Image: Shutterstock/Lisa S.

THE GOVERNMENT IS set to start work on a plan that would avert a pensions crisis.

An interdepartmental working group to plot and plan the design and implementation of a universal pension plan in future years is to be put in place.

Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection Joan Burton has expressed her “significant concern” about the low numbers of people with private pensions.In Ireland, less than half of workers aged 20 to 69 have pension coverage, and the numbers are declining.

It is envisaged that the scheme, which involves automatic enrolment for young people joining the workforce for the first time, will be put in place when the economy has recovered sufficiently and workers’ pay has improved.

Government sources made clear, however that it is unlikely that this will happen for at least two years.

The working group is expected to look for outside advice when coming up with the plan. They will look in particular at countries like Britain and Australia which already introduced auto-enrolment as part of public policy in the area.

“It is not going to be a six-month or 12-month study. It is going to take much longer,” a spokesman for the Tánaiste said. ”The design will be very complex.”

In October 2013, the government took the decision to wind down the National Pension Reserve Fund (NPRF), which had around €6.4 billion in it. It was replaced by the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF).

- additional reporting from Hugh O’Connell 

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