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Posts tagged ‘Pension’

A message to the servants of the Irish people

Response to latest article from David Mc Williams

(“The numbers that continue to damn us“)

By Thomás O Cléirigh

I have been calling on the Irish government to default on this odious debt but the puppets in government have no say as the have sold themselves and the rest of us into financial slavery. I am now living in northern Germany and I am now here over a year and when I go back to Wicklow Town on family visits I am always shocked at the total lack of activity in the town .

More and more shops are just going through the motions of opening for business but everyone tells me they are struggling. The town is like a ghost town from around noon there is no one the main street .I wouldn’t be surprised to see a tumbleweed roll straight past me !More and more shops are closing down. At least 5 out of 13 households are contemplating moving abroad for work next year . I was the first to go. Looking at the current situation, I am horrified at the sheer incompetence of our political masters. They seem to be deliberately forcing our youth out of Ireland but the sad fact is more and more Dad,s and Mom’s are also leaving !

There is no hope on the horizon, as the gombeen and ,stroke politicians are firmly entrenched in the corrupt political system we have  and there is no prospect of real political change. The codgers walking around Lenster House have been there and their Fathers or Aunties for as long as I can remember giving themselves lottery perks and pensions as we see according to the latest figures .

 “According to the report: “Accrued pension entitlements of public servants are a significant liability of the state. At end December 2009, a total of €116 billion had accrued in respect of occupational pensions payable to public servants.
Those liabilities represent the estimated present value of the cash payments that fall to be met over the next 60 years in respect of pensions earned at December 31, 2009.”

This is the product of the pay-as-you-go system which is government public sector pensions. The problem is not just that the state doesn’t have the money, but that the public sector pension bill is rising at a ridiculous rate.
This time last year, the same report estimated the public pension liability at €108 billion at the end of 2008. In only 12 months, the estimated liability has increased by a whopping €8 billion”

This is immoral and totally indefensible! The current crop of gangsters in the Dail ,who are  running the country are not facing up to reality, they are completely committed to the cause of Angelika Merkel and her new 4th Deutsche Reich! The plight of the ordinary citizens is of no concern to these insider Boys and Girls, as long as they can withdraw their lottery salaries and pensions they will continue to march us down the path of financial Armageddon. I have called for a default in the past and I do so again.

We simply cannot pay this odious debt and we should never have never allowed our corrupt government to do so .The Irish people must stand up and demand full repayment and compensation for this forced destruction of our State. The gross mishandling of our state’s finances must not be rewarded the civil servants ,Bankers and politicians connected with this disaster must not be allowed to benefit with large pensions and perks .

We must stop rewarding incompetence in all government offices and civil servants must now be forced to accept the fact that we do not nor can we afford the unbelievable pensions they were promised by corrupt politicians in the first place. A message to the servants of the Irish people welcome to the real world! People get fired every day and do not have automatic rights to lottery pensions.

As a citizen of Ireland I do not accept that the servants of the people should be given rights way above those experienced by the vast majority of the citizens they are supposed to be serving! Come on boys and girls get real we just can’t afford this party any longer.

Deal with it! The party is over!

Irish Finance Minister rewarding economic treachery and mind boggling incompetence????

By Thomás O Cléirigh

The next budget is coming and I decided to re post a short video clip to remind the Minister of Finance of the lottery pensions the last shower of gangsters who were members of the last Government. I call on the Finance Minster to reduce these lottery pensions by 95%  .Not one of these incompetent shower should be rewarded for the total destruction of our economy, the collapse of our financial intuitions’ and the loss of our sovereignty. This gang of crooks are responsible for the disastrous situation the country is in, and it is totally irresponsible and immoral to reward them, as our citizens are asked to suffer massive public services cuts .Yes it is time to make hard decisions and these crooks must be called to pay for their crimes. We the people will no longer tolerate political gangsters getting rewarded for failure. These pensions and perks must be withdrawn and given back to the people of Ireland.

Stop rewarding these Crooks!

Political pensions: The costs

Logo of the Oireachtas of Ireland

Logo of the Oireachtas of Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Political pensions and lump sums for former TDs, Ministers and Senators have cost nearly €2 million every single month over the past year and a half.

An estimated €32.7 million has been spent by the Oireachtas and Department of Finance since January 2011 on pensions for former politicians. The cost includes more than €9.5 million paid in lump sums to the record number of public representatives who retired after the last election. A further €1.5 million was paid out in termination lump sums with another €3.24 million given out in ‘termination payments’.

In total, once-off payments came to €14.35 million with a further €12.68 million paid on actual ongoing pension payments. A detailed breakdown of expenditure, which was first obtained by the Irish Mail on Sunday, shows that €371,234 has been paid out by the Oireachtas every single week since January 2011.

Around €5.2 million has been paid out during the same period in Ministerial pensions with a further €515,540 paid out in ‘severance’ payments. When the Department of Finance payments are taken into account, the weekly cost to the taxpayer has been €449,757 over the past seventeen months

full article at source:http://thestory.ie/2012/06/21/political-pensions-the-costs/

“Greece Able to Pay only Salaries and Pensions”

Coat of arms of Greece since 7 June 1975.

Image via Wikipedia

Does the Greek state owe you money? You’d better forget about the payment – I hope for the time being… Then Greece apparently faces shortage of funds, the possibility of the 6th bailout tranche ( eight billion euro) is in the air, and national media reported recently that Greece has money until October 15th 2011. This morning I heard the IKA, biggest insurance & pension fund, governor assuring that there will be no problem with paying the pensions. Unfortunately the workers’ contributions have vanished in the air of dark corridors and false investments, and the pensions are now financed through taxes! No wonder the salaries for newly hired civil servants will start with just 750 euro gross per month.

Read this interesting article “Greece Able to Pay only Salaries and Pensions”at source here :

http://beforeitsnews.com/story/1073/988/Greece_Able_To_Pay_Only_Salaries_Pensions.html

Pensions are under siege

Pensions are under siege – first they were hammered by stock market loses and now the Government is dipping into
private pension funds,

 by  CAROLINE MADDEN 

WITH A NEW levy slapped on private pensions to pay for the jobs initiative, and the National Pensions Reserve Fund raided to bail out the banks, and of course the small matter of the ongoing funding crisis in defined benefit (DB) schemes, it’s little wonder people approaching retirement, or already retired, are getting jittery.

Seen by many as an arbitrary “smash and grab” appropriation of private retirement savings, the new pension levy not only sets an unnerving precedent but will have a real impact on many people’s income in retirement.

Though a 0.6 per cent levy on pension fund assets may not sound like a lot, it could translate into a 9 per cent cut in pension income for the 66,000 people who are members of DB schemes.

Unlike defined contribution (DC) schemes, which tend to secure the pension benefits of retired members by purchasing annuities, defined benefit schemes generally pay pensions directly from their funds. As a result, their members are more likely to be exposed to the levy.

Jerry Moriarty of the Irish Association of Pension Funds (Iapf) explains that for every €10,000 paid out to a member, DB schemes are required to keep €150,000 in reserve. A levy of 0.6 per cent on €150,000 equates to €900, so unless the employer tops up the fund by this amount, the pension payment of €10,000 will be reduced to €9,100.

Minister for Finance Michael Noonan has accused the pensions industry of reacting to the new 0.6 per cent charge in a “quasi-hysterical” way.

However, to put it in context, Moriarty has calculated that for one of the larger DB schemes he deals with, the levy (which will be imposed for four years) will be equivalent to all of its employee contributions for the year.

So for the next four years, all of the workers’ contributions will be absorbed by the levy.

“This can only be made up by reducing their benefits, or the employer coming under pressure to increase their contributions,” he says.

The problem is that many DB schemes have already cut members’ benefits and increased their contributions in an attempt to tackle funding deficits. The imposition of the new levy will make this precarious position even more difficult. Another criticism of the levy is that it hits pensions in payment, ie, the incomes of retired people who have finished working and therefore have no chance of making up the shortfall. According to Eamon Timmins of Age Action Ireland, this will cause “huge financial uncertainty for retired people who up to now had made financial plans based on defined, fixed income”.

The Government has argued that it is simply calling in a very small proportion of the tax relief given in respect of pension fund contributions over the years. However, Moriarty believes that taking money off the pension funds of people coming close to retirement is “a bit harsh”.

“Yes, they got tax relief on it, but they’re also paying tax on it in retirement, so [that argument] doesn’t really wash,” he says. “It seems a bit of a scattergun approach. We did write to the Minister for Finance and suggested we would be quite happy to discuss alternatives where pension funds could invest in the economy rather than just losing the money,” he said. “We would much prefer to sit down and come up with something more positive.”

So far, the Iapf has not heard back from the Government.

SOME PENSIONERS have dodged the bullet however. Those who have already bought an annuity (or whose pension scheme bought one for them), which is an insurance product that guarantees a set annual income for life, will not be affected by the levy.

More controversially, people who have taken out Approved Retirement Funds (ARF) will also escape the new charge. This exemption attracted howls of disapproval last week, as most people who hold ARFs are very wealthy.

ARFs are funds to which people can transfer their pension assets when they retire, and they offer an alternative to buying an annuity. One of the main attractions of an ARF is that the proceeds of your retirement fund can remain invested for longer. However, until this year only certain categories of workers, such as the self-employed and proprietary company directors, were eligible to hold them. Although access to ARFs was extended earlier this year so that all members of DC pension schemes can now take them out, a Department of Finance spokesman said the vast majority of people holding such funds have “significant amounts of money”, because ARFs are complex in nature and require more investment decision-making.

The Department stressed that ARFs are not tax-free. Drawdowns from these funds are subject to income tax and, even if you don’t drawn down from the fund, you will be taxed on a deemed distribution. The annual notional distribution was increased from 3 per cent to 5 per cent in Budget 2011. “This is a permanent, not a temporary change, whereas the levy is temporary,” the Department said. Nonetheless, holders of ARFs will be relieved to have dodged an additional 0.6 per cent levy.

Though the Irish Brokers Association may have been playing to the galleries to a certain extent when it predicted that the levy could precipitate many more Waterford Glass situations (referring to the case taken by employees after the glass manufacturer closed with a large pension deficit), it does raise the question of what happens to pensioners if their employer goes bust while the company pension fund is in deficit. Are they left high and dry or will the State step in and protect them? Pensions Ombudsman Paul Kenny explains that if a company goes out of business and the pension trustees have to wind up the fund, retired workers have “first crack” at the assets in that fund. However, he says the “immunity” that pensioners used to enjoy has been eroded.

In 2009, the Government changed the way in which funds are paid out if a DB pension scheme is wound up with a deficit. Though pensioners continue to get first priority, any future pension increases that may have been promised to them are not now granted until members who have yet to retire receive their share of the benefits.

“That is a reflection of the fairly insolvent state of a lot of defined benefit schemes . . . basically they’ve eaten into the pensioners’ protection in order to leave something over for other people,” Kenny says.

The Waterford Crystal case, which is expected to be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) soon, will have implications for the pension entitlements of all workers who find themselves caught in the “double insolvency” bind, whereby their former employer, and their company pension scheme, becomes insolvent.

The case was taken by 10 former employees of Waterford Crystal after it went into receivership in January 2009, and the company pension scheme was wound up with a deficit of more than €100 million.

The former workers were offered pension payments representing between 18 and 30 per cent of their entitlement, but claimed that (following a 2007 European court decision) they are entitled to at least 49 per cent. The decision on this will be left to the ECJ, but the problem is that, regardless of the outcome of the case, it looks as if the State simply doesn’t have deep enough pockets anymore to protect workers caught in this situation.

In March of this year, the secretary general at the Department of Finance Kevin Cardiff appeared as a witness in the Waterford Crystal case and said the Government can’t commit to pay the estimated €13 billion actuarial cost of guaranteeing the full pension entitlements of workers whose employer becomes insolvent.

He said a State guarantee for pension schemes would pose a “serious threat” to the commitments made to the IMF and EU.

Another issue that came to the fore when the levy was announced last week was the well-worn public sector versus private sector debate. Much of the criticism of the levy focused on the fact that it will only apply to private pensions.

However, it is not true to say that public sector pensions have escaped unscathed. Although it remained largely under the radar, public sector pensions in payment were cut on January 1st of this year by an average of 4 per cent. (This was in addition to the pay cuts and pension levy already introduced).

Retired public sector workers receiving a pension of up to €12,000 were immune, but those on €12,000 to €24,000 saw their pensions reduced by 6 per cent, while pensioners on over €60,000 a year were hit by a substantial 12 per cent cut. Mr Kenny says he has received numerous complaints from public sector pensioners who believe the cuts are in breach of the terms of their contract.

However, the reductions have been legislated for and there is nothing the ombudsman can do about it.

source:http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/pricewatch/2011/0516/1224297032932.html

Coment: 

A nasty precedent has been set and it won’t be long before they are back for more! You ant seen nothing yet! This is just the start wait until they take a swipe at your savings in the Bank beat them to it and take your savings out now before the government gets to them!

does Gilmore forget who he is working for?

Mr Gilmore was speaking at Labour’s annual James Connolly Commemoration at Arbour Hill Cemetery.

He said their achievements in power will be incremental as the gravity of the economic crisis cannot be overstated.

He also defended the Government’s plan to levy pension funds to pay for the jobs initiative, saying it is a temporary levy and the funds had benefitted from advantageous tax arrangements in recent years.

On reported French resistance to Ireland getting an interest rate reduction from the EU, Mr Gilmore said they always expected it would be difficult to get such a reduction.

He said the countries that are resisting a lower interst rate for Ireland are not helping this country or recovery across Europe either. He said the quid pro quo of corporation tax is not on.

On the Labour Court decision that Bord na Mona workers should get pay increases to bring them in line with other energy sector workers, he said the company will likely discuss the issue with the department and the Minister concerned will then bring the view of the department to the Government.

On the levy on private pension funds, he repeated that its a very modest levy applied to funds built up with the benefit of tax relief and allowances over the years aimed at funding the jobs initiative and getting people off the dole

Source: http://www.rte.ie/news/2011/0515/labour.html

Comment:

I’m just wondering If Mr. Gilmore is trying to soften up the overburdened workers for more pain. How quickly he and his crew have forgotten who it is they are supposed to be working for.

Irish Bombshell:Irish Government Raids PRIVATE Pensions

The Irish government plans to institute a tax on private pensions to drive jobs growth, according to its jobs program strategy, delivered today.

 Without the ability sell debt due to soaring interest rates, and with severe spending rules in place due to its EU-IMF bailout, Ireland has few ways of spending to stimulate the economy. Today’s jobs program includes specific tax increases, including the tax on pensions, aimed at keeping government jobs spending from adding to the national debt.

The tax on private pensions will be 0.6%, and last for four years, according to the report.

From the jobs initiative release:

The various tax reduction and additional expenditure measures which I am announcing today will be funded by way of a temporary levy on funded pension schemes and personal pension plans. I propose that the levy will apply at a rate of 0.6% to the capital value of assets under management in pension funds established in the State.

It will apply for a period of 4 years commencing this year and is intended to raise about €470 million in each of those years. The levy will not apply to pension funds established here and providing services and benefits solely to non-resident employers and members. Further details regarding the proposed application of the levy are set out in the Summary of Initiative Measures.

Ireland’s ability to levy further taxes on other parts of the economy is restricted because its economic growth has been inhibited in the wake of a financial crisis that crippled its banking sector and decimated its public finances.

Unwilling to budge on the country’s low corporate tax rate, Enda Kenny’s Irish government has chosen to target pensioners for funds to grow the economy. Whether it turns out to be an example to other countries seeking alternative ways to raise revenues with aging populations is yet unknown.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/irish-bombshell-government-raids-private-pensions-to-pay-for-jobs-program-2011-5#ixzz1MA7qyyWv

Fine Gael’s plans to cap the standard threshold for a pension pot

FG pension plans could affect civil servants and ministers
20 February 2011 By Richard Curran

Fine Gael’s plans to cap the standard threshold for a pension pot would reduce the annual pension of senior civil servants and ministers to under €30,000 per year, according to experts in this area.

Fine Gael announced as part of its pension policy that it would introduce a large cut to the threshold, from the existing level of €5.4 million to at most €1.3 million for public and private workers. The plan is also to increase the notional annuity cost of defined benefit final salary schemes.

‘‘Their proposed retention of the 41 per cent tax relief is absolutely logical as it will assist middle class pension savers, ‘‘said Aidan McLoughlin, managing director of Independent Trustee Company.

‘‘However, if applied correctly and equitably, capping civil servants pension threshold levels at a fund of €1.3 million will slash pension benefits; this would effectively limit the pensions of senior civil servants to €30,000 per annum, a fraction of what some are currently on.”

McLoughlin calculated, based on Pensions Board guidelines, that a pension of €50,000 per year for a 60-yearold female public servant would require a fund of €2.2 million – an annuity rate of 2.23 per cent. ‘‘However, under Fine Gael’s plans that fund would exceed the threshold limit.”

An analysis of the figures suggests that, if implemented in full, the proposal would see a 60-year-old senior civil servant whose retiring salary is €100,000, receiving an annual pension of €28,990, or €558 per week.

A government minister, aged 55 on retirement, whose final salary is €181,000 would receive an annual pension of €26,234.

‘‘The €1.3 million cap now looks pretty paltry when compared with Bertie’s [Ahern] f und o f e 7.6 mi l l ion,’ ‘ McLoughlin said.

Comment:

 

Will these measures be made retrospective? Or are they going to allow Ahern and Cowen and lenihan and Gormely walk away with their monstrous lottery pensions after they ruined the country??

Fianna Fail / Green’s new ‘dirty dozen’ in Budget

By Charlie Weston and Brendan Keenan

Thursday December 09 2010

THE Budget contained a number of measures that were little noticed when it was announced on Tuesday night.

Here are a ‘dirty dozen’ of the measures that proved to be a surprise, as they were not signalled in the four-year austerity plan.

Stamp duty

First-time buyers did not have to pay any stamp duty up to now. From yesterday they will have to shell out 1pc of the value of properties worth up to €1m.

This will mean an additional €3,000 on a property that sells for €300,000, according to Ronan O’ Driscoll at Savills Ireland.

Redundancy payments

Redundancy payments, apart from statutory redundancy amounts, will only be tax-free up to €200,000. For amounts above this the tax will be 20pc.

This is to discourage ‘golden parachutes’.

Medical cards

People with medical cards did not have to pay the income levy or the health levy up to now.

But the merging of these two levies into the universal social contribution (USC) will mean that people with a medical card, whose income is greater than €4,000, will pay the new charge, the Department of Finance confirmed. However, the spokesman added that state pensions may be excluded from this.

Pensions

Employers will have to pay 50pc PRSI on their employees’ contributions to a pension scheme. This is in addition to the application of PRSI and USC to the employees’ contributions themselves.

Childcare

Childcare provided by employers will now be treated as a benefit for the employee, who will pay income tax and PRSI on the value of the childcare, raising €6m a year for the Exchequer.

Previously, this facility was exempt from tax.

Start-ups

The three-year exemption from corporation tax for start-up companies is being extended to companies starting in 2011.

But the value of the relief will be limited to the amount of employer’s PRSI paid by the company on behalf of employees, which may mean no relief for one-person start-ups.

Gift tax

The amounts that can be given or left to relatives, tax free, are being reduced by 20pc. This is a significant change, raising €40m in a full year.

The new limit for a gift or inheritance to a child is €332,804, and €33,280 for a sibling or lineal descendant.

Capital gains tax

Capital gains tax (CGT) was left unchanged at 25pc. In the National Recovery Plan, it was suggested that a threshold beneath which tax was not paid would be index linked to inflation allowing it to rise each year. This system operated in the 1980s. However there was no mention of the indexation of gains against inflation in Tuesday’s budget.

Approved retirement funds

The annual ‘imputed’ distribution, or tax, applied to assets in an approved retirement fund at the end of each year goes from 3pc to 5pc, with effect from December 31 this year.

Rent relief

The tax credit available to those who rent out their own home drops from €400 to €320 for a single person. For a couple, the credit drops from €800 to €640.

Home-carer tax credit

For a spouse caring for children or a handicapped person, the carer tax credit – which is a tax free portion of income – drops from €900 a year to €810.

Car benefit in kind

The benefit in kind for those who have a company car will in future be based on the car’s level of CO2 emissions, with cars with lower emissions getting relief.

– Charlie Weston and Brendan Keenan

source http://www.independent.ie/national-news/budget/analysis-overview/the-dirty-dozen-tweaks-that-took-us-all-by-surprise-2454125.html

Irish Independent

Shakedown as TDs escape cuts

Shakedown: Low-paid and the poor hit hardest as TDs escape cuts

08/12/2010THE low-paid and the poor have been hardest hit by a savage budget that spared no one except the TDs needed to vote it through. Finance Minister Brian Lenihan chopped social welfare payments and hiked taxes — but decided TDs on €92,672 a year did not warrant a further pay cut.

Instead, he targeted families, middle-income earners, the low-paid and the poor as he introduced a €6 billion combination of tax hikes and spending cuts.

At a press conference last night, Mr Lenihan rejected suggestions that he should feel ashamed, with both he and the Taoiseach insisting they were “proud” of their work.

The main welfare payments were cut by €8 per week, with the changes to take effect from January. Mr Lenihan left the standard old-age pensions untouched for fear of a backbench revolt, but cut the widow’s pension, the invalidity pension, the blind person’s pension and carer’s benefit.

He drastically reduced the value of tax bands and credits, amended the PRSI system, and replaced the income and health levies with a new “universal social charge” imposed on anyone earning more than €4,004 a year.

The effects of the changes will bring another 132,000 low-paid people into the tax net and impose hikes running into thousands of euro on middle-income earners.

The changes mean:

* A single PAYE worker earning just €15,000 will now lose €399 a year under the universal social charge.

* A single PAYE worker earning €25,000 will pay an additional €989 a year in taxes and charges.

* A family with two children and one income of €55,000 a year will pay an additional €1,519 in taxes and levies.

Families were hit at every turn because, as well as seeing their taxes hiked, child benefit payments were cut and school transport charges increased.

Child benefit will be reduced by €10 per month for the first and second child and €20 for the third child.

Health premiums are also set to soar as a result of the Government decision to charge more for private beds in public hospitals.

Petrol rose by 4c per litre from midnight while diesel rose 2c. In a bid to “stimulate” the property market, Mr Lenihan slashed stamp duty from 7% to 1% but it will now apply to first-time buyers.

He announced further cuts to ministerial pay in a bid to alleviate public anger, with the Taoiseach’s salary falling by €14,000 to €214,000 a year and ministers’ salaries falling by €10,000 to €181,000.

But they represented cuts of just 5% and 6% respectively, at a time when the Government is proposing to slash the minimum wage by 12% from €8.65 to €7.65 an hour.

Mr Lenihan also introduced a cap of €250,000 on public sector pay but it won’t apply to existing judges.

He also left TDs’ pay untouched, but said increases to PRSI would ensure effective cuts for high earners in the public service. He also said public service pensions above €12,000 a year would be cut by an average of 4%.

Mr Lenihan defended the EU/IMF rescue plan but admitted that part of the reason for the severe correction was the rising cost of interest repayments due to the bailout of the banks.

He insisted the budget was the “first step” in ensuring Ireland got back on its feet, adding: “It is a substantial down-payment on the journey back to economic health.”

But Fine Gael finance spokesman Michael Noonan said it was a “puppet budget from a puppet Government” that offered “no hope, no jobs and no future”.

Labour social protection spokeswoman Roisin Shortall said the “cruel” welfare cuts would “cause enormous hardship and drive yet more poor families to the St Vincent de Paul”.

Campaigners also criticised the budget, with Barnados chief executive Fergus Finlay saying it would condemn thousands to the breadline.

“I never thought I would see the day when an Irish government legislated to make families hungry, but it happened (yesterday).

“The cuts in social welfare and in child benefit will force thousands of families to make choices no family should ever have to make,” said Mr Finlay.

Protests took place outside the Dáil last night as Government motions to pass key budget measures were voted upon.

But the Government’s task in passing these measures became considerably easier after Independent TD Joe Behan confirmed he would support the budget, thus widening its majority to four.

Meanwhile, the Taoiseach insisted he would lead Fianna Fáil into the general election. It came as backbenchers continued to express unease about the party’s prospects should Mr Cowen stay in place.

source http://budget.irishexaminer.com/analysis/shakedown-low-paid-and-the-poor-hit-hardest-as-tds-escape-cuts-138761.html

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