John Hills of the Pensions Commission will today outline the major pensions challenge faced by Northern Ireland as he presents the findings of the Pensions Commission’s first report in Belfast.
Average pensioner income in Northern Ireland is already 10% below that of the UK as a whole. And in the same year a fifth of pensioners in Northern Ireland had incomes below the most commonly used poverty threshold.
The Pensions Commission’s First Report, published in October 2004, explained that to prevent pensioners from getting any poorer relative to the rest of society, there are only three ways forward. People will have to either work for longer, save more for retirement or pay higher taxes devoted to pensions. It said that a solution will have to involve some kind of mix of these three options.
Speaking prior to this evening’s event, Hills said the commission wanted to ensure that its recommendations were both feasible and widely acceptable.
“For people to make sensible plans for their own futures, we need a system that will last,” he said. “To achieve that, we need as wide a consensus as possible on the best way forward. I am here in Belfast today as part of our work to try to find where such a consensus might lie.”