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LMCs call for MPIG legal battle

By Steve Nowottny

The escalating dispute over this year's pay award has stepped up a notch after LMCs called on the BMA to consider a legal challenge to the MPIG freeze.

Pulse revealed last week that the Department of Health is to launch a formal consultation with the GPC in a pre-emptive bid to block any possible legal challenge.

Ministers are widely expected to make a formal announcement on the future of the MPIG within the next few weeks to coincide with the publication of the NHS Next Stage Review.

But the LMCs conference gave its full backing for a legal challenge, with delegates hoping for a repeat of the High Court victory over GP pensions.

Dr Preston de Mendonca, from Devon LMC, said: 'MPIG is a Government undertaking freely given, with coercion or ‘mendacity'. The Government must keep its word.'

'If MPIG goes, another judicial review must surely be on the cards.'

GPC chair Dr Laurence Buckman said negotiators were about to begin talking with NHS Employers over different models for the gradual removal of MPIG, but stressed that any phasing out would have to be accompanied by an increase in overall resources.

'It's our policy too to want to see MPIG to go, but we want it to fade away from use as the correction factor is eroded by the rising tide in our pay,' he said.

Negotiations were likely to focus on the timescale of the phase out, he added.

‘Clearly the Government will want that trajectory to be incredibly short, and we will want it to be long,' he told Pulse. ‘The longer it is, the more economic it becomes.'

‘If the Government wants to buy it out very quickly it will be very expensive. If they want to buy it out over 15 years it won't cost much at all.'

LMCs overwhelmingly backed legal challenge LMCs overwhelmingly backed legal challenge

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