Thursday, 5 November 2015

Ceisteanna (114, 115, 117)

Dominic Hannigan

Ceist:

114. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if there are plans to link the payment increase to public sector pensioners to the consumer price index, and if so, the timescales for doing this. [38832/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Dominic Hannigan

Ceist:

115. Deputy Dominic Hannigan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will provide a timeframe for the removal of the cuts made to public sector pensions for those on incomes of over €32,000; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38833/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Joanna Tuffy

Ceist:

117. Deputy Joanna Tuffy asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform for an update on the Lansdowne Road agreement (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38893/15]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 114, 115 and 117 together.

On 16 June last, following discussions with representatives of the Alliance of Retired Public Servants, and reflecting the improved fiscal and economic position, I announced that Government had accepted my proposal to bring forward legislation to lessen the impact of the Public Service Pension Reduction (PSPR) on public service pensioners. At present the PSPR, which was introduced in 2011, reduces most public service pensions whose value, on a pre-PSPR basis, is above €12,000. While not a part of the Lansdowne Road Agreement this proposed PSPR amelioration is incorporated into the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Bill 2015, which is currently before the Dáil, and as such forms part of the wider set of proposed public service pay and pension restoration measures in that Bill.

The PSPR amelioration provisions in the 2015 Bill give priority to the lower-pensioned persons impacted by PSPR, in line with my stated commitments. In specific terms, those provisions will deliver the part-restoration of the PSPR cuts in three stages effective from 1 January 2016, 1 January 2017 and 1 January 2018. When fully rolled-out from 1 January 2018, this means that all public service pensions in payment with pre-PSPR values of up to €34,132 will be fully exempt from PSPR, while those pensioners not fully removed from the reach of PSPR will, in general, benefit by €1,680 per year. The cost of these proposed changes is estimated at about €90 million on a full-year basis from 2018. This represents a major amelioration of the PSPR burden over a multi-year time horizon, at the end of which the great majority of public service pensioners, with the exception of those on the higher levels of pension income, will no longer be affected by PSPR.

Under section 12 of the FEMPI Act 2013, I am required to review the necessity of FEMPI legislation annually and cause a written report of my findings to be laid before each House of the Oireachtas. In that context, economic progress and fiscal consolidation in the years ahead will determine the scope and timing of the possible further scale-back or elimination of the financial emergency measures, including the PSPR.

I have no plans at this time to link the pensions of public service pensioners generally to the Consumer Price Index