62. Deputy Gerald Nash asked the Minister for Finance if he will bring forward his decision announced in his recent budget speech in respect of the maximum allowable pension fund, to a point in 2013 as opposed to 2014; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 57414/12 asked on 20 Dec 2012)

Minister for Finance (Deputy Michael Noonan): In Budget 2013, I announced that changes to the maximum allowable pension fund at retirement for tax purposes (the Standard Fund Threshold - SFT) and other possible changes to give effect to the commitment in the Programme for Government to cap taxpayers’ subsidies for pension schemes which deliver pension income of more than €60,000 will be put in place in 2014. The existing SFT regime is designed to cater for relatively small numbers of individuals. The current structure and operation of the regime, which applies across all pension arrangements in the private and public sectors, would not effectively or efficiently cope with an expected minimum ten-fold increase in the numbers of individuals who would be affected by the Budget decision. A number of significant and fundamental changes to the current SFT regime may be required in order to deliver on the decision announced in the Budget. Alternatives to the use of the SFT regime to deliver on the Government’s commitment will also be explored and consultations will be required with, among others, various Departments and this will take time. For these reasons, I am not in a position to accede to the request in the Deputy’s question.