VICTORIA BISCHOFF: Memo to the next health secretary… let’s right the wrong of the practice nurses’ pensions
Practice nurses are the backbone of the NHS. They keep waiting times in your GP surgeries down and patients out of A&E.
Yet, as we reveal today, they have been utterly betrayed over their pensions and stand to lose out on thousands of pounds in retirement.
The NHS pension scheme is one of the better ones, so much so that even some highly paid doctors are now working less to avoid busting their allowances.
Vital role: Practice nurses have been utterly betrayed over their pensions and stand to lose out on thousands of pounds in retirement
Yet in a bizarre oversight, these nurses, the vast majority of whom are women, were denied access to the scheme for more than a decade.
Worse still, few were warned what they would be giving up when moving from a hospital or district role to a GP surgery.
The fact that they were finally allowed into the scheme in 1997 is a tacit acknowledgement that they always should have been a part of it.
So the Government should at the very least allow the nurses to pay in backdated contributions for the years of invaluable service they have provided.
Their plight is another example of women being treated as second-class citizens when it comes to pensions.
This month, the High Court heard how a generation of women have been left around £50,000 poorer following the increase in state pension age.
Campaigners argue they were not given enough notice that they would get their pensions up to six years later than expected and now they are struggling to get by.
Meanwhile, inequality in the workplace means women still typically earn less than men, and face losing out in retirement because they are unable to contribute as much to their pension.
Here’s a memo to the next health secretary (whoever that may be), let’s right this wrong.
For many victims of the Woodford crisis, the consequences are already desperately real.
And the longer investors are prohibited from accessing their cash, the more devastating the impact will be.
Our feature should serve as a reminder to the fallen fund manager that those pound signs are not just numbers on a spreadsheet. They represent holidays, house deposits, a kitchen extension and vital funding for care bills.
It’s therefore astonishing that Mr Woodford refuses to waive his fees for those unable to access their money. In the two and a half weeks since freezing the fund, he has now pocketed more than £1 million. Has he no shame?
Yorkshire Building Society’s decision to slash rates for loyal savers just weeks after launching a host of top-paying accounts for new customers made me cross.
As our savings guru Sylvia Morris reveals, the move means some savers see rates halve from Friday. It’s one thing to cut rates but to then bar those customers from moving their money to the society’s better deal is unacceptable.
Finally, an example of brilliant customer service.
Money Mail reader Mick, from Lincolnshire, says: ‘I purchased an Antler suitcase in December 2011 and having used it at least twice a year on foreign holidays since then I had no problems until November 2018 when the top carrying handle came adrift.
‘As the case carried a ten-year warranty I contacted Antler on May 2. And, despite a five-day delay due to my email error, the matter was resolved and a brand new suitcase arrived on May 20.
‘Would that all companies treated their customers with the same efficiency and courtesy. A pleasure to deal with.’