The SoR has written to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Sajid Javid, and all members of the parliamentary Heath, Work and Pensions, and Treasury Select Committees urging a delay in proposed changes to NHS pension contributions.
Changes are under consideration by the Department of Health and Social Care and HM Treasury and would take effect from April 2022.
The changes are well intentioned and are aimed at addressing some recognised flaws in the current scheme. These in particular affect part-time members of staff paying contributions at the full-time equivalent rate which is unfair and out of step with the CARE principles.
However, the SoR is worried that the timing of the proposed changes, which impacts on what the changes will look like, will make them self-defeating.
SoR executive director for industrial strategy and member relations, Dean Rogers said: ‘The principles behind the changes are sound. It isn’t right that two people earning £23,000 pay different amounts into the scheme for the same benefit, just because one of them has a full-time equivalent salary of £40,000. The difference can be as marked as 5.6% versus 9.3% or more.
'However, because the government has decided to use available funds to cover the McCloud rectifications there is no money to do these changes safely. Most people will see their contributions rise, including many of our part-time members. Asking nearly everyone to pay more in the name of fairness is very difficult to justify.
‘The recent pay awards will evaporate quickly due to rising inflation, National Insurance contributions and returning parking charges. At this time, increased pension contributions and therefore lower actual take-home pay risks having a hugely negative impact on the recruitment and retention campaigns that the government says are its top NHS priority.’
Members can download a version of the letter here to send to their own MPs and ask them to write to both Rishi Sunak MP and Sajid Javid MP calling for a delay in any pension changes until there is a consensus across employers and unions that the aims will be safely met without impacting upon recruitment and retention.
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