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In defence of pension deal

Critics of the new pensions deal not only overlook its many benefits, they also ignore the context in which it was reached (News, 27 September).

When we, along with all the other health unions, began negotiating, we faced the threat of the retirement age being raised to 65 and the value of GPs' pensions being cut by up to 20%.

We negotiated successfully not only to stave off these threats, but also to achieve a range of new benefits.

We have, for example, kept the normal pension age for all current staff at 60, kept all pension contributions as tax deductible expenses, improved benefits for dependent children and surviving spouses, and achieved greater flexibility.

We have also negotiated to take the cap off pensions – which will result in higher pensions for those affected – and ensured the financial stability of the scheme, we estimate, for the next 20 years at least.

It is misleading to focus solely on the costs of the scheme while ignoring such improvements.

Dr Andrew Dearden, chair, BMA pensions committee

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