BMA calls for govt assurance that doctors will not pay for McCloud transition

The British Medical Association (BMA) has called on the government to provide “absolute assurance” that doctors will not have to shoulder any payment to remedy age discrimination identified in the McCloud judgment.

In its response to the government consultation on how to implement changes to remedy the issue, the BMA called for clarity on pensions transition arrangements and a promise that doctors will not be liable for paying for it either through their pension or from the cost of advice to navigate the rules.

In its consultation, the Treasury proposed offering affected public sector members the choice of accruing benefits in either the new career average pension schemes or in the final salary legacy arrangements that they were moved from for the period between 1 April 2015 and 31 March 2022 (the remedy period).

It is also seeking views on how to offer members this choice. The government has proposed either offering affected members an ‘immediate choice’ or a ‘deferred choice underpin’ (DCU).

The immediate choice would require affected individuals to make their decision “in the year or two” after the point of implementation in 2022.

Alternatively, the DCU option would see their decision deferred until the point at which the member retires, or when they take their pension. Under the DCU option, all members would be deemed to have accrued benefits in the legacy scheme, rather than the reform scheme, for the remedy period, until they make their decision.

The BMA stated that the DCU option was the “only suitable one” as it would allow members to base their pension decision on actual, rather than assumed, benefits.

In its consultation response, the BMA said that it was essential that costs linked to the remedy were “borne directly by the government and that employee contribution rates, accrual rates and overall pension benefits are not adversely impacted by your proposed remedy”.

“We need absolute assurance this will not be the case as otherwise members will still be paying for this detriment through an alternative mechanism and this is wholly unacceptable,” it added.

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