Published On: Wed, Sep 4th, 2019

Spending Review 2019: Statement called ‘missed opportunity’ on pension tax relief limit | Personal Finance | Finance

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sajid Javid, delivered his Spending Round speech today in the House of Commons. During his speech, the Conservative Party politician announced a further £2 billion for Brexit delivery next year. It comes after he provided £2.1 billion of extra funding for Brexit and No Deal preparedness. Today, he also announced £6.2 billion increase in NHS funding next year.

Elsewhere in the Spending Round, Mr Javid announced councils will have access to £1.5 billion of new funding for social care next year.

“Alongside the largest increase in Local Government spending power since 2010, and on top of the existing £2.5bn of social care grants,” he added.

However, the Spending Review was dubbed a “missed opportunity” by Steve Webb, Director of Policy at Royal London, and former Minister of State for Pensions.

Mr Webb commented: “Whilst today’s review was mainly about public spending, the new Chancellor should have used this opportunity to remedy an urgent tax problem – the impact of pension tax relief rules on higher earners in the NHS and across the public sector.

“NHS services are now being seriously impacted by GPs and senior doctors choosing to retire prematurely or cut hours because of tax relief limits. This issue needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

“Today’s statement was a missed opportunity to address that urgent problem.”

Meanwhile, Pensions Director at Aegon, Steven Cameron said: “The Battle of Brexit may have brought Parliament to a halt, but it hasn’t slowed down the trend towards longer life expectancies and an increasing number needing care in later life.

“While local councils will no doubt welcome the £1.5 billion boost in the coming fiscal year, this is a temporary stop gap, falling far short of the £8 billion the House of Lords reported was needed to restore services to 2009/10 levels.

“But as the Chancellor admitted, this ‘down payment’ doesn’t in any way reduce the critical need for a fundamental review.

“The scale of the issue is more heart surgery than sticking plaster.

“We need to arrive at a new, fair and sustainable deal on social care funding which will allow people to understand and plan ahead for their contribution should they need care.

“Fixing this huge problem area must be a priority for Government and the millions of families awaiting a new deal while struggling week by week to provide care and dignity to elderly relatives.”

Commenting on the new funding for social care, Genevieve Edwards, Director of External Affairs at the MS Society, said: “The new money for social care is a stopgap measure that will just paper over the cracks.

“Until we see a long-term funding solution, people with MS will continue struggling without basic care to eat, wash or dress.

“While there are no more planned welfare cuts next year, the support people have already lost from PIP continues to have a devastating impact, costing the Government more than they save – so it makes no financial sense to keep denying this support.

“MS is relentless, painful and disabling, and thousands have been driven to misery during this decade of cuts. Both social care and disability benefits are vital lifelines that must be a priority for the Government.”

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