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Nurses to pay extra £100 towards pensions next year


Nurses will have to pay more than £100 extra towards their pensions next year under government proposals revealed today.

A consultation on changes to the NHS pension scheme states contributions to pensions will rise by up to 2.4 percentage points in 2012-13.

All NHS employees earning over £15,000 will pay a bigger proportion of their salaries towards pensions  - for a nurse on £25,000 the extra amount will equate to £120 after tax relief.

Those on higher salaries will pay proportionately more, so nurses earning £30,000 will pay an additional £300 a year and those on a £40,000 salary face a rise of £396.

The government wants contributions to rise even more, by an average of 3.2 percentage points across the public sector by 2014-15.

Separate discussions over the structure of public sector pension schemes, such as whether they should continue to offer “final salary” pensions, are ongoing.

Health secretary Andrew Lansley, who was this week revealed to have written a letter to the Treasury warning against reducing “gold standard” public sector pensions, announced the consultation.

He said: “What will not change is that the NHS pension will remain one of the very best available, providing a guaranteed pension level for all employees – something that very few private sector employers still offer. We will also completely protect the pensions people have already earned. None of the rights people have accrued will be affected.

“However, [Independent Public Service Pensions Commission chairman] Lord Hutton made it absolutely clear that there needs to be a fairer balance between what employees and taxpayers contribute to public sector pensions. With people living longer and healthier lives, the status quo is untenable and unfair. It is entirely reasonable that people pay more to receive the benefit for longer.”

But Royal College of Nursing chief executive and general secretary Peter Carter said: “Hard working nurses are in the middle of a two year pay freeze, inflation is soaring and they now face the prospect of paying more money into their pension next year for no additional benefit.

“This latest development is not just about contributions in 2012. It is the start of a process that will increase contributions even further and make nurses work until they are dropping on their feet. All this is likely to have a devastating impact on the morale of dedicated nurses.

“We believe the current cost sharing arrangements in the NHS are fit for purpose. The government should complete and publish the 2008 NHS scheme valuation, get back round the table and have proper discussions on the costs of the scheme.

“It is only three years since nurses accepted fundamental changes to the pension scheme. It is also important to emphasise that the average NHS pension paid to a woman is less than £4,000 – far from the ‘gold plated’ term that is often used. This is not a fight the government needs at this time.

“We know the strength of feeling among members and the RCN on behalf of nurses and healthcare assistants will vigorously defend fair pensions at all times.”


Readers' comments (19)

  • Sod that, I'll be better off not paying in at all!

    Peter Carter needs to get his arse in gear and ballot us for strike action NOW. He keeps saying that he will 'take the necessary action' but never does! He needs to stop deluding himself that 'talks are still ongoing'!! They are over! The government has made up its mind!! Now we NEED to strike!! So ballot us, NOW!!!! And then follow the orders to strike that your members will invariably give you!!!!!!!!

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  • have to agree with mike. im up for striking without hesitation!!

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  • Telegraph

    "George Osborne: 'no need for strikes over pensions'
    Chancellor George Osborne says the Government are talking to trade unions about public sector pensions and he sees no reason for strikes.
    6:05PM BST 28 Jul 2011"
    "Under the changes, nurses and classroom teachers earning £25,700 will pay an extra £10 a month for their pension in 2012/13, an NHS consultant on £130,000 will pay an extra £152 a month, while civil servants will see their contributions rise by between £20 and £140 a month.
    Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the Government wanted to set a "fairer balance" between what workers and the taxpayer contributed towards public sector pensions, pledging that the lowest paid will be protected and the highest earners will face the biggest increases."

    So this way it is fair for all!

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  • Please correct me if I am mistaken but I'm sure I have read somewhere that the nurses pension fund is £2bn in surplus? If this is correct where is the extra money from the increase in pension contributions going to? Exchequer for deficit?

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  • Anonymous | 28-Jul-2011 7:06 pm fair for all? Are you taking the p**s?

    First of all, how exactly is paying more in to get less out fair exactly?

    Our pension is already hardly gold plated, it is a bare minimum, and many of us cannot afford to simply pay more in out of our monthly wages, especially in light of high taxes, increasing costs of living and what has already effectively amounted to pay cuts over the last decade! We are already woefully underpaid for what we do and many of us stretch that as far as we can as it is.

    Second of all, there is no need at all even to HAVE a reform of pensions, as Anonymous | 28-Jul-2011 10:37 pm says, our pension pot is already billions in surplus thanks to the contributions we ALREADY make. That is OUR money, so what the hell are they using all that surplus on? THAT'S the real question.

    We are being robbed blind here! It is time people opened their eyes, and it is time we went on strike!!!

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  • the PM said, referring to the financial crisis and its aftermath, that we are all in this together. therefore we all have to carry our share of the burden. at least until the economy recovers. it is not only nurses that are done by and they are far better off than many!

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  • if nurses are unwilling to increase their pension contributions to keep up with rising costs of living and increasing numbers of pensioners, would it be a more suitable alternative to increase salaries and abolish the pension fund so that they can make their own private arrangements?

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  • Ummm, NO! I thought they were supposed to be negotiating this, not telling to pay more when we already get shafted, plus have to now pay 20% VAT. The government basically wish to cut down their contributions to us and pay the bankers bigger bonuses for bankrupting us. Thank you Mr Andrew Lansley but No thanks. Keep paying our pension and we are happy to continue contributing what we did before, otherwise shove it where the sun doesn't shine.

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  • I don't get it, my rents up 25%, my car insurance is up 50%, my gas and electric is going up 16%, petrol has gone through the roof, food has gone up loads but the government says that inflation is only 4.5%. We get no pay rise for two years and now asked to pay more again. Sorry, but the pot is empty, I'm broke, no really, I'm totally broke.

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  • it looks as though britain is also heading towards a class of the 'working poor'.

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