BMA urges chancellor to reform pension tax rules

Author: Ingrid Torjesen
BMA urges chancellor to reform pension tax rules

The British Medical Association (BMA) has written to the chancellor of the exchequer to highlight the severe impact that existing pensions taxation policies are having on BMA members and the wider NHS workforce.

The chancellor is making his Spring Statement, and the BMA wants him to reform current pension and tax policies to improve the retention of doctors.

In a letter to the chancellor Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA chair of council, said: “We believe that such reform will improve recruitment and retention across the NHS workforce, and support doctors to continue to deliver care to patients throughout their working lives.”

The letter warns that the punitive effects of the lifetime allowance (LTA) and tapered annual allowance (AA) are leading GPs and hospital consultants to leave the NHS pension scheme, retire earlier or cut back on working hours, further exacerbating the existing workforce crisis within the health service.

“Doctors across all branches of practice, working across the NHS, are facing the dilemma of incurring a disproportionate and ever-expanding pensions tax bill or cutting short their service to the NHS, reducing hours or turning down additional work, much of which is carried out to reduce waiting times and ever-growing clinical lists. This can only be to the detriment of patient services,” Dr Nagpaul said.

“At a time when the NHS is in the midst of a workforce crisis and recruitment and retention are an NHS priority, we are calling for government to look again the use of such counteractive and punishing pension taxation policies.”

The letter points out that it is not just the BMA and doctors calling for reform, but also firefighters and the police force.

“These taxation policies are intended to hit high earners but, in reality, they are also targeting middle earners who work hard for decades to provide expert care and dedication to the public,” Dr Nagpaul said.