‘The money is not going to any pension scheme, it is going to the Treasury. This increase isn’t about making the NHS pension sustainable in the long term – it already is,’ Dr Hamish Meldrum, Chairman of Council at the BMA, said yesterday.
He was commenting on the announcement from the Treasury on public sector pensions, and specific proposals for increased contributions for NHS staff in 2012-13.
Proposed extra contributions for 2.5 million NHS workers, teachers and civil servants were announced as the government looks to cut £1.2bn off its pension bill next year.
The maximum increase will be 2.4 per cent from April.
750,000 staff earning less than £15,000 a year will not pay higher contributions.
People earning between £15,000 and £21,000 will pay 0.6 per cent more from next April.
Teachers face a 0.6 per cent rise in contributions on salaries up to £26,000, and paying a maximum 8.8 per cent of their salaries once they earn £112,000.
Teachers on £30,000 p.a. will pay additional contributions of 0.9 per cent and civil servants will face additional contributions of 1.6 per cent.
The total contribution will go up to a maximum of 5.9 per cent for civil servants earning more than £60,000.
For the NHS scheme, the 0.6 per cent rise will apply to those earning up to £26,557.
Doctors, now face a maximum contribution rate of 10.9 per cent, over £10,000 a year, once they earn at least £110,273.
BMA leader Dr Meldrum stressed: ‘The NHS scheme is already affordable, yet the government is asking doctors to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds more for a worse deal on retirement.’
He added: ‘Contributions are set to increase again in 2013/14 and 2014/15.’
NUT General Secretary Christine Blower warned: ‘We cannot allow this ruthless dismantling of our public sector pensions to go ahead.’
She added: ‘NUT members have taken strike action before to defend their pensions and will do so again if the government does not see sense.’
PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘We’re committed to negotiation but these have to be serious, not limited to the government’s predetermined outcomes.’
Unison General Secretary Dave Prentis said pension talks ‘are being put in jeopardy by the crude and naïve tactics of government ministers who don’t seem to understand the word “negotiate”.’
UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: ‘This is simply a tax on public sector workers.’
ATL general secretary Dr Mary Bousted said: ‘We don’t think this tax on teachers is fair and our members have already demonstrated their strength of opposition by striking on June 30.’
Brian Strutton, GMB National Secretary for Public Services, said: ‘Workers cannot take a pay freeze for another year. Neither can they afford cuts in pay to meet higher pensions contributions to ease Treasury finances.’