Opposition calls for talks on second pillar pensions

Opposition to back bill on private pension schemes but says this will not be enough without second pillar pensions 

Tonio Fenech
Tonio Fenech

Government’s plans to introduce tax benefits for private pension schemes are “too little” and inadequate, Opposition MP Tonio Fenech said.

Addressing a press conference just hours before the parliamentary debate on pension reform, Fenech said that the opposition will support the bill being proposed by government, however he called for talks on the introduction of a second pillar pension.

Explaining that the opposition has consistently been in favour of private, voluntary pensions schemes, also known as third pillar pensions, Fenech said “the scheme does not guarantee adequate pensions for all.”

He added that the proposed tax rebate of 15% up to a maximum of €1,000 for one person per household “isn’t enough” and “government is putting the cart before the horse.”

Fenech explained that not everybody afforded a private pension scheme, meaning that unless a second pillar pension, or a second obligatory partly funded by employers was introduced, pensions would not reach 60% of the national average wage.

At the moment first pillar pensions reach around 45% of the average wage, and Fenech said that as proposed by the pension reform working group set up in the previous legislature the gap can only be closed by the introduction of a second pillar pension scheme.

Asked whether government finances allowed the introduction of a second pillar pension, Fenech said government should start a debate on the gradual introduction of second pillar pensions.