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​Pension tension: BDA urges Chancellor to allow public service scheme to be more flexible

24 February 2020 


The BDA has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to allow greater pension flexibility within the public service pension schemes, as the solution to the current impasse caused by pensions taxation.


In a letter to the Chancellor today, the BDA's Chief Executive, Martin Woodrow, and Chair of the BDA Pensions Committee, Paul Blaylock, said this would allow scheme members the option to accrue lower levels of defined benefit pensions, in exchange for a lower contribution, and consequently a higher level of taxable income. They pointed out that such flexibility would give individuals better control of their pension savings, which is imperative in any ongoing regime that includes annual or lifetime allowances.


Martin Woodrow and Paul Blaylock indicated that the fall-out from unexpected tax liabilities is exacerbating the difficulties in recruiting and retaining NHS dentists. They explained that the reported reforms to taxation of pension savings would place an extra tax burden on groups which are not currently subject to pensions tax charges.


"Findings from the BDA's 2019 survey of dentists suggest that many have already taken steps to reduce workloads, decline promotions or new contracts, or take early retirement; and that many more are expecting to follow suit, feeling that unexpected tax liabilities will continue to emerge in the coming years", they added. "This reduction in the workforce, at a time when we need as many NHS dentists as possible to keep up with demand, is a worrying development."


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