A leading pensions expert has said the government's introduction of a 0.6% levy on private pension schemes is making 'a bad situation worse'.

David Kingston, who has over 40 years experience in the pensions industry, says it is difficult enough to convince people to save for the long term without introducing disincentives.

'If the patient is lying on the floor and you give him a kick, it doesn't help', he says.

Mr Kingston, who's Chariman of investment advisers Acuvest, has also called for defined pension pension schemes to be given a 'decent burial'.

He believes the DB schemes were successful in their day when people's life expectancy was more stable and interest rates were high. We now have the opposite in both cases, he points out.

'Defined benefit schemes have limited assets - less than what they need - and in the future people who might be due benefits may not get them.'

Defined Contribution schemses have been the standard replacement, but David Kingston says people are not setting aside enough to get the benefit they would want.

'Defined Contribution schemes are affected by investment performance, but there's not the same element of unfairness because the money is assigned to the individual. The individual gets the benefit of what they have.'

Recent figures from the Pensions Board show that four out of five defined benefit pension schemes in Ireland are in deficit.

AIB has announced that it will be closing its defined benefit scheme and moving all its staff onto defined contribution schemes.

Independent News and Media recently stated that it is considering closing its DB scheme.