Plans to raise retirement age to 65

By Jesmond Bonello, the Times of Malta

September 26, 2003

The government is to propose raising the retirement age to 65 in its pension reforms, according to government sources.

The proposals are expected to be presented to the Welfare Reform Commission for consultations.

Social Policy Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Finance Minister John Dalli have been working hand in hand on the proposals on the basis of a number of studies on the welfare gap problem and, particularly, the sustainability of pensions as the number of pensioners rises in relation to the number of workers making national insurance contributions.

"The figures show we are sitting on a time bomb," the sources said.

The retirement age will be raised gradually and those who are already close to retirement would not be affected.

The government will also propose incentives to encourage investment in private pension schemes to supplement the government pension. A basic minimum government pension will be established as a safety net.

"The government's proposals will be open for discussion. However, the government will make it clear that decisions will have to be taken in the very near future. The country cannot continue to postpone crucial decisions," the sources said.

A survey commissioned recently by The Sunday Times showed that 38 per cent agreed with raising the pensionable age to 65 as one way of securing current pension levels. Women (63.4 per cent) were more strongly against the implementation of such a measure than men (60.5 per cent).





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