The purpose of raising the State pension age was not to force those people who are 65 years of age or over onto jobseekers' payments. Rather, the then Government - we continue to believe this - sought to encourage workers to remain economically active for longer in recognition of the fact that they are living longer and healthier lives. We wish to promote the implications of their increased life expectancy for personal sustainability. In most cases, it is hoped that workers will continue to work up to the State pension age, and indeed longer if they wish. We all know people who want to continue to work longer and in some cases cannot. As a consequence, we wish to encourage people, through wages or self-employment, to continue to have higher incomes that they would not have if they were to retire and live solely on payments from the Department.
The reason the Deputy's Bill has not been given the green light, or whatever way he wants to put it, is that there is no statutory requirement for retirement in this country. By law, we cannot stop something that is not happening in the first place.