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Black hole in NHS pension

28th February 2007

The shortfall in the National Health Service pension has risen £61.2bn in the past two years, new figures have revealed.

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The pensions deficit facing the health service is larger than Britain’s top private sector employers, according to official figures obtained by the Conservatives.

As top companies have reduced their shortfall, total liabilities for the NHS pension scheme have increased, standing at £165.4bn – up from £104.2bn two years ago.

Last year it rose by £37bn – almost half caused by changes in the discount rate which is used to calculate what the cost of liabilities in the future are worth today.

An accounting error also led to an extra £2.7bn which had been ‘lost’ from the previous year’s accounts.

Other influences include assumptions of how long pension scheme members will live, an increase in the amount of interest that has been earned, and an increase in the amount of pension earned over the past year due to pay rises.

Efforts to control the rise led to the introduction of a higher retirement age of 65 for new staff, but after threats of strike action plans to force it on to existing staff were dropped. The NHS pension scheme currently has 1.6m members.

The FTSE 100 companies has dropped its deficit from £90bn to £23bn in the last four years.

Experts say the civil service pension schemes, which include the NHS, will cost future taxpayers an estimated £960bn.

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Article Information

Title: Black hole in NHS pension
Author: Carol burns
Article Id: 2133
Date Added: 28th Feb 2007

Sources

The Telegraph
The Financial Times

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