Most well-paid professionals work the hours needed to get the job done, without extra payment for overtime. NHS consultants seem to be unique in their combination of upper middle-class pay with proletarian working practices (Editorial, 9 July). The deeper malaise of which the pensions dispute is a symptom is the medical profession’s restrictive practices that limit training and recruitment of adequate numbers of doctors. The solution is to recruit and train enough doctors to make overtime unnecessary. Alternatively, the solution to paying them so much that they lose pension tax relief could be to reduce their pay.
• Further to your reporting of the NHS consultants’ pension “tax trap” (Operations cancelled in standoff with consultants, 8 July), it is surely possible to amend the consultants’ conditions of service, so that they can agree to stop employee and employer pension contributions before they reach the ceilings that trigger additional tax? Those limits are £40,000 in pension contributions per year, and a £1.055m lifetime pension pot. The purpose of the legislation is to limit the amount of public subsidy, by tax relief, for those with very high pensions. So just stop paying in when the pension has got to this very comfortable level.
Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire
• If hospital consultants, or anyone else for that matter, wish to build up massive pension pots, that’s fine, but tax relief (ie state aid) on contributions should be limited to that which would build a fund to sustain an adequate standard of living in retirement. I suggest two-thirds of the average wage. Presently that would be about £20,000 a year, or £400 a week. Ample. Beyond that the state should not subsidise people’s greed.
Birstall, West Yorkshire
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