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RCS statement on the Budget

11 Mar 2020

Commenting on the Government’s Budget for 2020, Professor Derek Alderson, President of the Royal College of Surgeons of England, said:


“Coronavirus is the most pressing issue facing the country right now, so it is right that it is a focus of today’s Budget. If Coronavirus takes hold, the NHS will require extra resources to deal with the outbreak and we will need everyone in the NHS to lend a hand, including those recently retired. We welcome the Chancellor’s commitment to provide whatever resources are needed to deal with this unprecedented challenge.


“We are also delighted the government has listened to our concerns on the ‘pensions’ tax trap’ issue. It has been a genuine worry for senior surgeons and doctors. Our latest survey showed 61% of consultant surgeons had been advised to refrain from taking on additional work, because it could trigger a large and unpredictable tax bill. The changes announced in today’s Budget should allow the vast majority of senior doctors and surgeons to work additional hours for the NHS. This could be particularly vital in the coming weeks and months.


“Surgeons and surgical teams across the UK are rolling up sleeves and ready to help deal with the Coronavirus, on top of their routine work.”

Notes to editors

• On pensions the Chancellor announced that the two tapered annual allowance thresholds will each be raised by £90,000. This means that from 2020-21 the “threshold income” will be £200,000, so individuals with income below this level will not be affected by the tapered annual allowance, and the annual allowance will only begin to taper down for individuals who also have an “adjusted income” above £240,000.

• For those on the very highest incomes, the minimum level to which the annual allowance can taper down will reduce from £10,000 to £4,000 from April 2020. This reduction will only affect individuals with total income (including pension accrual) over £300,000. Proposals to offer greater pay in lieu of pensions for senior clinicians in the NHS pension scheme will not be taken forward.

• The Chancellor suggested that these measures will mean 98% of consultants and 96% of GPs will be taken out of the taper altogether.

• In addition, the Chancellor also committed an extra £6 billion of new funding for the NHS over the course of the next parliament.

• A recent YouGov survey of surgeons commissioned by the Royal College of Surgeons of England, revealed that 61% of consultant surgeons had received professional or financial advice to refrain from taking part in NHS waiting list reduction initiatives, for fear of receiving large tax bills. Further results here:

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

For more information, please contact the Press Office:

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