‘Pensions Bill could create lost generation’ – Bradley
SDLP MLA for Newry and Armagh Dominic Bradley has said that his party was right to vote against the Public Pensions Bill in the Assembly this week.
Commenting on the provisions of the bill, Bradley 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.
“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,” Bradley insisted.
“Additionally, increased numbers of public servants working longer will mean a reduction in job opportunities for young people. Current circumstances define the problems of youth unemployment- from August to October last year the unemployment rate for 18-24 year olds was estimated at 23.8%.
“We are risking the development of a lost generation with large numbers of young people once again being forced to leave these shores to find work. This will only perpetuate our current problem.
Bradley added, “The SDLP has ensured that this bill was subject to the full rigors of the legislative process and some worthwhile amendments have been achieved but the bill is still not as we would like it to be- it simply is not the best possible deal for Northern Ireland Public Servants.”
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