BMA warns devolved UK nations will not escape pension reforms

The governments of the devolved nations will have little say over UK-wide pension reforms, the BMA pensions committee chairman has warned.

BMA pensions committee chairman Dr Alan Robertson said that the BMA was exploring options to shield Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the Treasury-imposed pension reforms, by encouraging their devolved governments to reject the reforms.

However Dr Robertson said that the governments were unlikely to have enough power to overthrow the changes.

‘It remains to be seen how much the devolved governments will be able to have an impact – this is something that is still in the early stages of discussion,’ he said.

Dr Robertson said that when the government decided to increase contribution rates for the NHS scheme, rather than give the devolved nations the option of opting out, it simply decreased their pension budgets, forcing them to increase contribution rates.

Earlier this month the BMA announced that it had cancelled 20 pensions roadshows that had been planned to provide members with more detail on industrial action.

Dr Robertson said the roadshows were cancelled due to the legal complexity of planning a ballot. ‘We’re still making plans for the ballot and working it up in greater detail,’ he said.

He said a decision on when and how GPs will be balloted on industrial action could take place at the end of this month.

‘There’s going to be a meeting of BMA Council at the end of this month where it is likely to be discussed. We want to make sure we dot every i and cross every t,’ he said.

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