Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (589)

Michael Healy-Rae


589. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Employment Affairs and Social Protection her views on the cuts to be made to pensions (details supplied); and if she will make a statement on the matter. [24887/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Employment)

The introduction of a Total Contributions Approach (TCA) to establishing the level of entitlement for all new state pension contributory claims was signalled by the then Government in the National Pensions Framework in 2010. At that time it set a target date of 2020 for the implementation of TCA. More recently, the Roadmap for Pensions Reform 2018-2023 targeted implementation of the TCA from Q3 of 2020. This is subject to the necessary legislation being enacted and supporting structures being in place. Consultation is a very important part of the development and design of the new pension. With this in mind, I launched a public consultation on the design of the TCA on the 28th of May 2018 to which a wide variety of stakeholder groups were invited. A number of workshops were also held on the day to elicit views and feedback. Shortly afterwards, Oireachtas members were invited to a detailed briefing by my officials in Leinster House. The consultation was open for over 3 months and the Department received almost 300 responses from individuals and organisations. Those submissions outlined the views of respondents on the issues of most interest to them including how self-employed people and Class S PRSI contributions since 1988 could be treated.

Having carefully examined the outputs of the consultation process, my Department is now designing the scheme and I intend to shortly bring a proposal to Government setting out that design. When the Government has agreed the approach to be taken, I will initiate the work required to introduce this reform.

I believe that the Deputy's comments are a reference to a story printed in a farming publication recently, which made erroneous claims about this reform. I am informed that the publication in question has since then published a correction.

I hope this clarifies the matter for the Deputy.