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Proposed changes to Scottish NHS pensions delayed after complaints

Changes put back to October to allow time for more consultations after RCN protested that many nurses would be worse off due to higher contributions
Picture shows Scottish bank notes

Changes put back to October to allow time for more consultations after RCN protested that many nurses would be worse off due to higher contributions

Proposed changes to NHS pensions in Scotland that could leave many nurses worse off have been delayed pending further consultations.

The move has been welcomed by RCN Scotland, which said it will continue to push for a rethink of the changes given recent increases in the cost of living affecting nurses and other NHS staff.

Proposals set out in a Scottish Public Pensions Agency consultation include changes to the way pension contributions for part-time staff are calculated and new rates that would see many nurses paying a

Changes put back to October to allow time for more consultations after RCN protested that many nurses would be worse off due to higher contributions

Picture shows Scottish bank notes
Picture: iStock

Proposed changes to NHS pensions in Scotland that could leave many nurses worse off have been delayed pending further consultations.

The move has been welcomed by RCN Scotland, which said it will continue to push for a rethink of the changes given recent increases in the cost of living affecting nurses and other NHS staff.

Proposals set out in a Scottish Public Pensions Agency consultation include changes to the way pension contributions for part-time staff are calculated and new rates that would see many nurses paying a greater proportion of their earnings into their pension.

The changes were due to be implemented from April this year but the Scottish Government has now confirmed they will not happen until October, with further consultation taking place during the summer.

However, earnings thresholds – which determine how much NHS staff on different salaries pay towards their pension – will be increased from 1 April in line with Agenda for Change pay rises.

The move follows similar confirmed changes to NHS pensions in England and Wales, which have also been delayed until October.

Feedback from RCN members shows some may retire early or cut their hours to avoid paying more

These will see lower and middle band nurses pay more into their pension, meaning many will see a reduction in take-home pay – although nurses who work part-time and top earners will benefit.

The promise of further discussion in Scotland comes after the RCN and others complained that not enough time had been allowed for proper consultation.

RCN Scotland senior officer Ros Shaw said feedback from members showed many were concerned about changes to pension contributions. Some may retire early, decide not to go for promotion, reduce their hours or quit the pension scheme to avoid paying more.

She said: ‘With the cost of living rising, it is the worst time to increase contribution rates, particularly for those on lower incomes. We will continue to argue that the Scottish government needs to implement fair changes to pension contributions, with as minimal change as possible.’

A Scottish government spokesperson said the proposals would reduce pension contributions for lower-paid staff, especially those who work part-time. The spokesperson said: ‘We are continuing to push the UK government to delay any changes to pension contributions until after the cost of living crisis is over. However, they have not indicated any further delay beyond October this year.’


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