Government throws in the towel in pension battle
By Steve Nowottny
Recently retired GPs will receive a pensions windfall of up to £15,000 after the Government decided not to appeal against last month's High Court ruling on the GP pensions cap.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health said: ‘We were surprised and disappointed by the Court's decision against our plans for containing the growth in GP pensions at a reasonable level.'
‘However, we have studied their findings and have decided to implement their judgement. This will include consultation on a more appropriate mechanism for uprating GP pensions for 2006-2008 that will be fairer to all members of the NHS Pension Scheme and to taxpayers.'
Last month the BMA won its judicial review of the case, after a High Court judge ruled the cap on GP pensions was unlawful. The case followed the Department of Health's announcement in 2006 that it was to cap the GP pensions dynamising factor – a way of bringing contributions to current values – to 48% over five years.
But according to the BMA's preliminary calculations, the actual dynamising factor over the five year period should actually have been around 58%.
GPs who have retired since April 2006 are likely to benefit most. The BMA estimates some could receive an increase of up to 10-15% in their pensions, equivalent to between £5,000 and £15,000, plus a lump sum increase.
Still-practising GPs are likely to see a more modest but ‘significant' increase.
Following the case last month BMA chair Dr Hamish Meldrum said the ‘landmark victory' showed the association ‘had been vindicated in its decision to challenge the Government.'Dr Hamish Meldrum: 'Landmark victory' against Government Dr Hamish Meldrum: 'Landmark victory' against Government