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'Great result' on NHS pensions

Health unions, including the CSP, and employers' leaders have struck a deal on a new NHS pension scheme after more than four years of talks.

The agreement means existing NHS staff will keep their normal retirement age of 60 and the ability to retire at 55 for those members with special protection. Both existing and new staff will have a final salary pension.

Janice Collins, the CSP's negotiator, hailed the outcome as a huge success. 'At a time when many final salary schemes are being closed down in other sectors of the economy, CSP members and other colleagues working in the NHS will benefit from a final salary pension - so this is a major plus.'

 Anyone joining the NHS before 1 April 2008 will join the existing pension scheme. The new pension scheme will apply to all those joining on or after that date.  Existing scheme members will be given a one-off chance to join the new scheme.

Ms Collins said she was pleased that unions had been able to agree improvements for members in the existing scheme. For example, survivors' pensions will be extended to partners, backdated to 1988.

Contributions will change, with most members paying an additional half per cent but with those on the lowest bands paying less (members currently pay six per cent).

The new arrangements relate only to England and Wales. Scotland and Northern Ireland are expected to adopt similar proposals.

FURTHER INFORMATION

For more details go to the CSP website www.csp.org.uk/director/workplaceissues/pensions.cfm

Queries on pensions can be emailed to pensions@csp.org.uk

Pension features

Existing scheme members will:

  • keep a normal pension age of 60, (or 55 for staff with special rights) and the right to take a pension after the age of 50
  • keep a final salary pension with a 1/80th accrual rate and a 3/80th lump sum for each year of service, based on the best  of the last three years of work before the age of 60
  • have survivor pensions extended to partners in addition to widows, widowers and civil partners, backdated to 1988

New scheme members will have:

  • a normal pension age of 65 and the right to take a pension after 55
  • a final salary pension with 1/60th accrual rate for each year of service, based on the average of the best three consecutive years of membership in the 10 years before retirement
  • the choice between taking more lump sum and less pension
  • a more flexible pension, with the ability to take all or part of it while continuing to work and build up more pension
  • survivor pensions as above

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Article Information

Author(s)

Matthew Limb

Issue date

3 October 2007

Volume number

13

Issue number

19
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