Jeremy Hunt’s pensions tax shake-up is “the wrong priority, at the wrong time, for the wrong people”, Labour has said, as it called on MPs to vote against the move.
Chancellor Jeremy Hunt used his Budget to abolish the tax-free limit on pensions savings, which had stood at £1.07 million, in one of the most high-profile parts of the package.
The Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated it could boost the workforce by 15,000 as people who might otherwise have retired to avoid breaching the lifetime allowance decide to stay on instead.
Critics have branded the move a tax giveaway for the wealthiest individuals, even as the Government has insisted that it will encourage senior doctors, teachers and police officers to stay in work.
Pat McFadden, the shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said Tory MPs will have a “clear choice” when they come to vote on Mr Hunt’s Budget measures.
Labour has pledged to reverse Mr Hunt’s policy if it wins power after the next general election.
Mr McFadden said Conservative MPs “can look at the state of the nation after 13 years of Tory governments, and at the cost-of-living crisis that families are facing, and vote with Labour against these pensions changes that benefit those who hold the biggest pension pots.
“Or they can once again make a choice that puts working people last.
“They could choose to have a specific scheme, costing taxpayers less, to tackle the challenge of retention facing the NHS.
“The Labour Party would immediately reverse this Tory decision, and prioritise working people and families.”
But the Government accused Labour of “playing politics”.
John Glen, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: “Just a few months ago, Labour pledged to abolish the lifetime pension cap, saying it would mean ‘patients are seen faster’ and ‘lives would be saved’.
“The Conservative Government wants to keep more of our most experienced doctors and consultants on the front line of our NHS to cut waiting lists – Labour need to explain to the British people why they now disagree.”
Published: by Radio NewsHub