Stormont passes pensions bill

Published Tuesday, 04 February 2014
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Northern Ireland Assembly members have voted to raise the future pension age in the public sector to 68.

Stormont passes pensions bill
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
Comments Comments
greg in limavady wrote (353 days ago):
vote them out.Its up to us to end tribal voting and give valid parties a chance.
doirecormac in Derry wrote (360 days ago):
So the great socialist Sinners voted to extend the working life of 250,000 people. They are making people pay more to work longer to get less. Come election time this will not be forgotten.
M.B. in Belfast wrote (361 days ago):
A relative of mine joined the Civil Service at 17 and will now have to work 51 years to get a State and Public Sector pension. Previously he would have qualified for a pension at 57 and now will have to work an extra 11 years. This is madness when you look at the pressure and stress some of them are under in Dole Offices etc where they get non stop abuse, intimidation and threats. This is just another way of hoping that public sector employees work themselves to the bone and an early death before they qualify for a pension. Did Sinn Fein and the SDLP vote for this? How many of their MP's and MLA's will have to work for 51 years to get a pension? Not too many of them I suspect. George Orwell's Animal Farm once again.
rab in Belfast wrote (361 days ago):
All affected by this should show their disgust by voting for the parties who opposed it come election time. We joined on terms and conditions of the pension scheme and retirement age and on a whim they change it! How about politicians pensions change too.
Have a nice day. in Derry wrote (361 days ago):
To the M.L.A and M.Ps its ok for yous 3terms in office watch is 12 years you get a lovely pension. .. I have done 15 years in the mental health service and Isshould have being alot to leave at 60 with a pension that I have paid into from the age off 22!!! Now the way its going am going to pay in more and work to that will be 46 years working in the mental health services.. I would put money on it I will not be seen my pension. ..
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