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Treasury confirms plans to press ahead with pensions overhaul

The Treasury has formally announced plans to force through its reforms to GPs' pensions, despite the BMA's day of industrial action last month, and before the association decides on its next move to try and reopen negotiations with ministers.

The move, first revealed by Pulse last week, was announced in a written ministerial statement from the Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander. Click here to read the full statement.

The statement said: ‘Most unions have now consulted their membership on the final scheme designs for the NHS Pension Scheme, Teachers' Pension Scheme and Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme. I am now confirming to the House that the Government will be taking forward legislation based on the position reached in March. Legislation will be introduced during the current Parliamentary Session to take these changes forward, as announced in the Queen's Speech on 9 May.'

The statement concluded: ‘The Government will now focus on implementing the public service pension reforms and unions are invited to work with the Government to ensure the changes are introduced as effectively as possible.'

The announcement came ahead of the start of Parliamentary recess on 17 July, and before the next BMA council meeting in Edinburgh next Wednesday (18 July), where the BMA will discuss its next course of action for attempting to bring the Government back to the negotiating table, with further days of action or possible boycotts of commissioning or revalidation up for discussion.

Pulse can confirm that newly-elected BMA council chair Dr Mark Porter has secured a meeting with Health Secretary Andrew Lansley ahead of the Parliamentary recess, but the Department of Health insisted the meeting will not be open to negotiations on pension reform. Both the DH and the BMA declined to comment on what would be discussed at the meeting or exactly when it will take place.

A BMA spokesperson said:  ‘From Mark [Porter's] point of view, we hope the meeting will be an opportunity for a fresh look at the pensions dispute, and to explore opportunities to resolve it quickly, including through negotiations between the DH and the health unions.'

Click here to read the full statement.