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Pensions: Doctors

Question for Treasury

UIN HL17005, tabled on 8 July 2019

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to revisit the 2016 rule changes to tax relief for medical practitioners, in order to resolve the current staffing crisis.

Answered on

22 July 2019

The Government keeps public sector pay and pensions policy under constant review in the context of the wider public finances.

Pensions tax relief is one of the most expensive reliefs in the personal tax system. In 2017/18 income tax and employer National Insurance Contributions relief cost over £50 billion, with around two-thirds going to higher and additional rate taxpayers.

The tapered annual allowance is therefore focused on the highest-earning savers, to ensure that the benefit they receive is not disproportionate to that of other pension savers. Less than one per cent of pension savers will have to reduce their saving or face an annual allowance charge as a result of the tapered annual allowance.

The Government recognises that some senior clinicians face tax charges owing to the increase in the value of their pension accrual. The tax rules must apply identically to everyone in the same situation, regardless of their employer.

However, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has announced plans to consult on proposals for a new flexibility for senior clinicians in the NHS pension scheme via the introduction of a 50:50 option. This option will give senior clinicians in England and Wales more choice in respect of their pension accrual, and therefore better control in relation to any pensions tax charges.

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