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Scottish GP practices ‘will not need to pay for pension cost increase’

GP practices in Scotland will receive the full funding required to cover the increase in employers pensions contributions, the BMA has said.

Following discussions between the Scottish Government and the BMA, there is now ‘a solution that will ensure that there’s not a cash flow problem for practices’ according to the BMA.

There were previous suggestions the Government would not cover all the cost for the hike in the rate – from 14.9% to 20.9% from 1 April – which led the BMA to warn of the ‘extremely damaging’ impact on practices.

Last December the Scottish Public Pensions Agency announced the rate would go up to match the increase in benefit costs.

A letter sent by public finance and digital economy minister Kate Forbes last month to the Health and Sport Committee said the UK Government had previously committed to ‘provide funding to fully cover the increased pension costs for NHS employers’.

Ms Forbes said the funding will not be enough to meet the costs – and that the Scottish Government will have to consider ‘how the shortfall will be met’.

But following discussions this week, BMA Scotland GP Committee chair Dr Andrew Buist told Pulse: ’We have a solution for the superannuation issue for Scottish practices. They have begun to receive notification that the additional 6% for the staff, based on the previous month’s returns, will appear next week in their statement.

’Similarly for the practitioners who are members of the scheme, this will appear next week.

‘We seem to have a solution that will ensure that there’s not a cash flow problem for practices.’

He added: ‘There still appears to be an ongoing dispute between the Scottish Government and the UK Treasury as to the exact amount of money to be transferred. But that should not concern practices. It’s an issue between the UK Government and the Scottish Government.’

A spokesperson for the Scottish Government said: ‘Once we have confirmation from the UK Government, the Scottish Government will take the appropriate steps to disperse the additional funding and, if there is a shortfall in the funding from the UK Government, consider how that shortfall will be met.’