The controversy over tax on pensions for doctors is rumbling on as dissolving Parliament for General Election 2019 has consigned a 20,000 signature petition aimed at triggering an MP’s debate on the issue to the dustbin.
The petition was launched in July by Mark Cheetham, a surgeon and medical director at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, and calls on the government to scrap the tapered annual allowance for high earners.
But the dissolution of Parliament for the election automatically means any open petitions on the UK Parliament web site are closed.
“All petitions now have to close at 00:01am on November 6. This is because Parliament will be dissolved, which means all parliamentary business – including petitions – will come to an end until after the election,” says a message on the site.
Back to zero for doctors
“This means the petitions site will be closed and people will not be able to start or sign petitions.”
This means going back to zero for Cheetham as the petition will not reopen when the result of the election is known.
The tapered annual allowance reduces the amount of pension contributions someone earning more than £150,000 a year can save into their pension.
The standard annual allowance is £40,000, but high earners lose £1 of this allowance for every £2 of income over £150,000 a year until the taper reaches £10,000.
Pension saving options offered
Doctors then revealed they were refusing to work extra hours because their additional earnings were automatically linked to making pension contributions that were taxed at 45%. This impacted waiting lists and treatment for patients at NHS hospitals.
The government offered to help doctors by giving them the choice of topping up pensions at the end of a tax year or increasing pensionable pay.
Despite the election, the proposals are still on the back burner, but the deal does not come with the scrapping of the tapered annual allowance, which is the root of the problem.
Although Cheetham’s petition has garnered 20,058 signatures, at least 100,000 sign ups are needed to trigger a debate in Parliament.