BMA Scotland rejects proposed pension changes

The BMA in Scotland has described the proposed changes to public sector pensions as a 'barely concealed tax' on health workers.

Dr Keighley: criticises the Scottish government
Dr Keighley: criticises the Scottish government

The BMA has said it ‘does not accept’ the Scottish government’s decision to mirror proposals in England which would increase contributions by NHS workers.

In its response to the Scottish government’s consultation on the changes, the BMA pointed out that many doctors had already seen their contributions increase by 42% following changes to the NHS scheme in 2008.

According to the BMA, the government's current plans would see contributions increase by a further 71% over the next three years.

This would mean that the contributions to the NHS Pension Scheme for some doctors would have increased by 142% in the six years since 2008, the union said.

Dr Brian Keighley, chairman of the BMA in Scotland, criticised the Scottish government for following Westminster’s lead on plans to increase employee contribution rates to the NHS scheme.

He said: ‘The Scottish government has made clear its opposition to the changes as 'unwarranted and disruptive'.  Yet at the same time it claims it has no choice but to fall in line with the UK because to do otherwise would be unaffordable.

‘We do not accept this; it is in the Scottish government’s gift to determine how it allocates its resources, and if it chooses to increase NHS employee contributions rather than make savings elsewhere, it is responsible for that decision.

‘We believe that these plans are a barely concealed tax on the members of the NHS pension scheme, a levy on them to pay for an economic deficit to which they did not contribute or in any way cause,’ Dr Keighley said.

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