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The Department of Health and Social Care is consulting on the implementation of a new member contribution structure for the NHS Pension Scheme in England and Wales.

The new structure will take effect from the 1 April 2022.

The consultation will close at 11.45am on the 7 January 2022 and can be viewed at: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/nhs-pension-scheme-proposed-changes-to-member-contributions.

So, what are the main proposals?

UNISON is currently assessing what the proposals will fully mean for scheme members.

However, the main proposed changes are set out below:

  1. Moving from contribution rates being based on whole-time equivalent pensionable pay to actual pay. This means most part-time staff will pay less into their pension than they currently do.
  2. Increasing contribution tier boundaries in line with annual Agenda for Change pay awards. This will help address the contribution rate cliff edges where previous pay increases resulted in some scheme members paying a higher contribution rate.
  3. Reducing the contribution rates for the highest paid NHS staff. Which, with a couple of exemptions, will mean full-time scheme members earning under £47,846 will pay more.
  4. Phasing in the changes over a 2-year period.

Although UNISON welcomes some of the proposed changes, we are very concerned about how the costs will be passed onto lower paid scheme members, while the highest earners stand to benefit the most. The government’s insistence that the NHS Pension Scheme must deliver a 9.8% yield means that in general lower paid full-time scheme members will pay more. This is inequitable at a time when they are also being hit hardest by the NI hike and when the mounting cost of living has already wiped out the 3% pay award. We believe the government should rethink their approach.

UNISON will be responding to the consultation and will shortly be organising a series of regional briefings so that we can take your views into account.