Johnson pledges to fix LTA following NHS pensions crisis

Boris Johnson has pledged to find a solution to the NHS pension crisis resulting in staff reducing their shifts, increasing waiting times by 50 per cent.

Speaking at the Tory leadership hustings hosted by The Telegraph yesterday (8 June), the Conservative leadership hopeful said that he has “repeatedly” tried to persuade Chancellor Philip Hammond to address the £1.1m Lifetime Allowance limit on pension savings which he described as “obviously wrong”.

However, Johnson failed to address the other punitive tax charge, the annual allowance taper which was lowered from £1.25m to £1m in 2016, and often leaves NHS employees unaware until after the event if they have exceeded the savings limit.

Johnson said: “This is something I have raised repeatedly, the £1.1m pension cap, which is affecting doctors and other people.

“It’s obviously wrong, it’s causing a real problem, I have raised it repeatedly with the Treasury and they keep telling me they’ve addressed it but the headlines show it has not been addressed, and we will fix it, we will fix it.”

Johnson’s comments come as yesterday, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss said that any changes to the pension taxation system will need to apply to all professions and not just NHS employees, as she branded Britain’s tax system “complex”.

Speaking during a debate on NHS pension taxation, Truss said the annual and lifetime allowances are “kept under review” by the government to endure that the benefit of tax relief on pension schemes affordable.

In June, the government said it was going to publish a consultation to deliver “new pension flexibility” by the end of the month, however the consultation has yet to be released.

Furthermore, the government said it would not be scrapping the tapered tax charges, which it said generates £6bn of revenue for the government, and instead would be focusing on a 50:50 option, allowing employees to reduce their contributions to 50 per cent while maintaining employer contributions at 100 per cent.

However, the British Medical Association and other leading industry figures said the approach would not provide the flexibility urgently needed.

Yesterday, it emerged that waiting times on routine surgery on the NHS increased by up to 50 per cent as senior doctors refuse to take extra shifts.

In addition, a major London trust, Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Hospital Trust, said it was finding it difficult to deal with a growing number of gastroenterology patients as senior consultants are unwilling to take on more hours.

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