Scottish govt calls for NHS pension tax solution

The Scottish Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, has called on the UK government to find a permanent solution to the pension tax issues facing the NHS.

In a letter to the Chancellor, Sajid Javid, Freeman urged the government to take the “decisive action necessary” in the 11 March Budget to solve the problems caused by the tapered annual allowance and lifetime allowance.

In November 2019, the Scottish government introduced temporary measures that gave highly paid NHS staff the option to get their employer pension contributions paid to them as part of their basic pay.

The interim policy was due to run until the end of the current financial year on 31 March 2020.

Freeman stated that the rules around the taper and annual allowances “continue to have a serious impact on NHS service delivery and staff”.

She warned that clinicians were having to make unanticipated changed to their working lives to avoid “large and unexpected” tax charges due to the pension system.

“The Scottish government will continue to act to mitigate the harmful impact of pensions taxation rules on NHSS staff and on frontline service delivery from April 2020 should this prove necessary,” she continued.

“It is however clear that a permanent solution is urgently required and can only be offered by your department.

“It is incumbent upon you to take the opportunity of the March Budget to fully and finally remedy the situation and allow our NHS staff to get on with delivering care without fear of the consequences.

“These concerns are echoed across the entire UK, and I urge you to act.”

The British Medical Association (BMA) has confirmed that the government review of the tapered annual allowance is now "underway", as promised in the Conservative manifesto prior to the General Election.

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