From Anne-Marie Walsh Irish Independent
HE Government has been urged to spend €25m in the Budget to ensure that the over-65s get an income equal to the State pension.

In its pre-Budget submission, the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) said the money should be used to boost the value of the dole for those who have to sign on until they are 66.

This is because the qualifying age for the State pension is now 66 and is set to rise to 68.

An ICTU spokesman said that jobseekers’ benefit stands at €203 a week but the State pension is worth €248 a week.

“Despite having one of the youngest populations, Ireland is currently on course to have the highest pension qualifying age in advanced economies in less than a decade.”

The ICTU calls for the introduction of a tax on net wealth to raise €375m and suggests an online betting tax could raise €20m. The unions also want employers’ PRSI to rise to 13.75pc on incomes above €100,000.