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This publication is available at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/statement-from-the-secretary-of-state-on-the-clinician-pension-tax-scheme/statement-from-the-secretary-of-state-on-the-clinician-pension-tax-scheme
I have agreed to support this proposal from NHS England and NHS Improvement for reasons of urgent operational necessity.
The scheme involves employers making binding contractual commitments to be given to every affected NHS clinician so as to ensure that this commitment is honoured. Full details of the terms of the payment arrangements are set out in letters that are being sent to each affected clinician by their employer including the terms and conditions of the offer.
This contractual commitment contains the provision that in order for it to be operative, the affected clinician must make a Scheme Pays election in relation to the tax charge for 2019/20 only relating to accrual in the NHS Pension Scheme excluding 2019/20 additional voluntary contributions (AVCs) that is accepted by the NHS Business Service Authority.
These binding contractual commitments will provide for payment to be made when the clinician takes their pension, at which point the employer (or its successor) will be liable for the payment. NHS England has undertaken to provide funding to the employer (or its successor) in respect of those liabilities as the payments are made.
There are long-standing precedents for how the liabilities of NHS bodies are met and the government will act in accordance with these.
Should the NHS trust or foundation trust employing the clinician cease to exist, there are statutory provisions to ensure its liabilities, including commitments to staff, would be transferred to one or more existing NHS bodies, or the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State ultimately takes responsibility for the liabilities of NHS bodies including NHS England and NHS Improvement.
Legislative changes to NHS structures by successive governments have previously made provision for the liabilities of organisations that cease to exist to transfer to successor bodies or the Secretary of State. The commitment to make these payments will be contractually binding and if either (a) there is no employer or other NHS body to make this payment at the time the clinician retires or at any later time when a payment falls to be made, or (b) any NHS body to whom these liabilities are transferred does not have sufficient assets to make the payment, the Secretary of State undertakes responsibility for making the payment, or securing that it is made.
Therefore, these payments will be honoured even if the NHS body no longer exists in the future. In order to provide the same level of assurance to clinicians who are TUPE transferred outside the NHS, NHS England undertakes to ensure that the financial responsibility for meeting any employer’s liabilities in relation to this commitment is transferred or remains with an NHS body as part of a future transfer process.
Clinicians are therefore now immediately able to take on additional shifts or sessions without worrying about an annual allowance charge on their pensions.
Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care