Sinn Féin spokesperson for Employment Affairs & Social Protection John Brady TD has warned that index-linking future pension increases to inflation will not ensure income adequacy for recipients.
Speaking in response to Minister Regina Doherty’s plans to introduce such changes, Teachta Brady said:
“Sinn Féin welcomes any moves by Government to end the political football around pension increases which occurs every year as we approach Budget time. We also welcome an end to the uncertainty that this creates for those who rely on social welfare, including State Pension recipients.
“The need to ensure adequacy in our social welfare system extends beyond the State Pension payment alone. The Minister cannot examine any such changes to the rate at which payments are made without looking at all social welfare payments.
“During the debate on the Social Welfare, Pensions & Civil Registration Bill 2018, a Sinn Féin amendment which was passed, commits the Minister to ‘consult with stakeholders on examining in which social welfare rates are increased with the aim of ensuring adequacy for all recipients’ and to do so in the first quarter of this year.
“This engagement with stakeholders is crucial when it comes to any changes to the way in which social welfare payment rates are set. As part of our work to progress the Sinn Féin Social Welfare Commission Bill, extensive engagement with stakeholders has clearly shown that adequacy of payments, and not index-linking to inflation is key.
“I would again appeal to Minister Doherty to consider our proposal to establish a Social Welfare Commission which would examine the level of income necessary to ensure an adequate standard of living across different household types who rely on social protection and recommend any such increases in rates where they are really needed.”