Published Tuesday, 04 February 2014
The pensions bill was rubber-stamped on Tuesday. (© Getty)
In his Autumn Statement, Chancellor George Osborne announced that the state retirement age would go up to 68 sometime in the mid-2030s.
The Public Service Pensions Bill, passed at Stormont on Tuesday, aims to move public service pensions to a system based on average earnings, with the pension age linked to state pension age.
DUP South Antrim MLA Paul Girvan said that if the assembly had not moved on public service pensions Northern Ireland would have to foot the bill.
SDLP MLA Dominic Bradley voted against the change.
He said: "This is the most far reaching piece of legislation to pass through the Assembly for some time. Changes to pension ages will mean that when the provisions of this bill come into effect, public servants will be forced to work until they are 68.
"Teachers, nurses, doctors and local government workers- people who work in posts which are physically, mentally and emotionally demanding."
The Newry and Armagh representative added: "We can safely predict that increasing the pension age will result in increasing numbers of ill health retirements and more people out of work on capability grounds.
"And there will be a cost to this- just what it will be remains to be seen. The effect of the bill on future employment has simply not been assessed."
The Green Party in Northern Ireland also voted against the bill.
Party leader Steven Agnew said: "On the passing of this Bill we have failed to make devolution work for the people of Northern Ireland and that is why the Green Party NI could not support it.
"I am disappointed that Executive parties failed to make the changes which would have been beneficial to local citizens and simply accepted what has been handed down from Westminster."
The North Down MLA continued: "This is a Bill that may work in a London context but it does not sit well in Northern Ireland.
"The average life expectancy in Belfast is 73 years, whereas the life expectancy in Kensington is 85.
"There has been insufficient amendment to this Bill to make it work for local people and some political parties have been playing two hands on this by saying they opposed it at Westminster but have then gone on to approve it in the Assembly."
© UTV News