10-02-2020

Universities will be subject to a series of strikes. Academics are unhappy about their pay and conditions and also the increase in contributions to the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS). Talks with employers, unions and trustees have failed to placate members. The pension dispute is around the valuation undertaken in 2018 and the increase in their contributions that followed that valuation. 52 Universities will be affected as a result of this dispute but overall 72 Universities will be affect when taking the pay and conditions dispute into consideration.

Hot on the heels of this dispute the Scottish Health Minister Jeane Freeman has called on the Chancellor Sajid Javid, “to find a permanent solution to fix the issue of the tapered allowance impacting National Health Service doctors.”

In her letter that was published on Monday 3rd February she has strenuously requested that the Chancellor “take decisive action” around pension and taxation rules. The impact of the rules is one of negativity on senior clinicians not just in Scotland but in every corner of the UK and suggests that a solution be found before April of this year.

The reason of the negative effect if the tapering of the annual allowance that is a gradual reduction in the annual allowance for those high earners. The real effect is that those high earning doctors are either not contributing to a pension scheme, choose to retire early or even reduce their working hours in an effort to avoid high tax bills.

The Scottish government took action in that a “temporary opt-in policy” was adopted this meant that doctors in Scotland could have the employers contribution paid as part of their salary. Doctors in England on the other hand were made a promise that their tax-bills for 2019/20 would be covered by the government. This is only an interim measure a permanent solution is yet to be found.

Sajid Javid does have an opportunity in his budget on 11 March 2020 to announce a solution to this issue.

Her final plea to the Chancellor was:

“It is incumbent upon you to take the opportunity of the March Budget to fully and finally remedy the situation, and allow our NHS staff to get on with delivering care without fear of the consequences. These concerns are echoed across the entire UK, and I urge you to act.”


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