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Jeremy Hunt backed Labour plan last year for tax break on NHS pensions

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theguardian.com

Jeremy Hunt previously backed Labour’s idea of giving a pensions tax break only to NHS staff, despite ruling out such a move in this week’s budget because it would not come into force quickly enough.The chancellor was chair of the health select committee last year when members wrote a report calling for the NHS pension scheme to be overhauled to encourage senior doctors to stay in their jobs.However, this week he went much further, unveiling a £2.75bn tax break for everyone with large pension savings, a move he said was necessary to ensure doctors were helped quickly, but which Labour has said is a costly tax break for the wealthiest savers.Last June, the health select committee flagged the problem with senior doctors retiring because their pension contributions had reached £1m and were being taxed at a higher rate.

The committee said in a report: “It is a national scandal that senior medical staff are being forced to reduce their working contribution to the NHS or to leave it entirely because of NHS pension arrangements.It added: “The government must act swiftly to reform the NHS pension scheme to prevent senior staff from reducing their hours and retiring early from the NHS.”Labour said the comments indicated Hunt was aware of the problem long before this week’s budget and could have enacted the more targeted changes he had previously advocated.Rachel Reeves, the shadow chancellor, said: “These findings make it clear once and for all that the government could have made different choices to get doctors back to work, while also not giving a £1bn bung to the richest 1%.“At a time when families across the country face rising bills, higher costs and frozen wages, this is the wrong priority, at the wrong time, for the wrong

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