Pensions  

Pension tax petition closes early

Pension tax petition closes early

A petition to scrap the tapered annual allowance will shut early due to parliament being dissolved, meaning it will like miss its chance to be debated by MPs.

Mark Cheetham, a surgeon and care group medical director at Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust, launched the petition in July calling on the government to abolish the tapered allowance.

It has reached almost 20,000 signatures from advisers, the pensions industry and doctors, towards the 100,000 needed for it to be debated in parliament.

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But it will now be closed tomorrow due to the impending General Election next month, and will not be reopened thereafter, the government stated.

The government stated: “All petitions now have to close at 00:01am on 6 November. This is because Parliament will be dissolved, which means all parliamentary business – including petitions – will come to an end until after the election. 

“This means the petitions site will be closed and people will not be able to start or sign petitions.”

The current Petitions Committee, the group of MPs who decide whether petitions are debated, won’t exist after November 6, meaning petitions that have more than 100,000 signatures can’t be scheduled for debate during this Parliament. 

After the election, there will be a new Petitions Committee, which will be responsible for deciding which petitions are debated.

The tapered annual allowance was introduced in 2016 and gradually reduces the allowance for those on high incomes, meaning they are more likely to suffer a tax charge on contributions and a lifetime allowance tax charge on their benefits.

The tapered annual allowance means that for every £2 of adjusted income above £150,000 a year, £1 of annual allowance will be lost.

Concerns about doctors’ pensions hit the headlines when it emerged doctors were refusing shifts to avoid these high tax bills.

consultation on the rules of the NHS Pension Scheme was published in September, which includes a proposal to allow members to choose a personalised pension growth level at the start of each tax year.

But the government has not put out any proposals for the tapered annual allowance to be abolished.

Former pensions minister now director of policy at Royal London, Sir Steve Webb, had signed the petition along with several advisers.

At the time Sir Steve said: “[The tapered annual allowance is an] absurdly complex bit of the pension system which is causing real harm in the NHS.  

“There are better ways of managing the overall cost of pension tax relief.”

There are other pension petitions that will be affected by parliament being dissolved.

Adrian Boulding, director of policy at Now: Pensions, had set up a petition campaigning for the government to reform the payment of pension tax relief to ensure that no low earners miss out.

In his petition Mr Boulding said: “We call on Government to ensure no low earners miss out on the tax top up on their pension contributions. 

“We estimate that this issue hurts the living standards of nearly 2 million pension savers.