As older people are deciding to move from defined benefit pensions to defined contribution pensions to take advantage of pension freedoms, it was also revealed this week that many young UK NHS staff are choosing to opt out of the NHS defined benefit scheme.
According to figures obtained through a Freedom of Information request by the Daily Telegraph, nearly 20% of National Health Service staff under the age of 30 chose to stop saving into the NHS Pension Scheme in 2014/15. However, by three years later, this proportion of staff had jumped to nearly 30%. Commenting on the figures, the former pensions minister Sir Steve Webb was concerned:
"It is very worrying if large numbers of younger NHS staff are opting out of the NHS pension scheme. NHS employers must investigate what is happening within their own scheme."
The issue has also concerned the union. Sara Gorton, the head of health at Unison, the union that represents thousands of NHS staff said that many younger people in the NHS were struggling, with prices rising much faster than their pay.
"Add to this the burden of student debt and the high cost of housing means something has had to give. For many, it's been their pension contributions, and while understandable, it's of huge concern. If the trend continues, many of them will be very poor in their old age. That's why it's crucial the government funds a decent pay rise for all NHS staff."
Older workers in the NHS Pension Scheme have also been in the news recently with the recent revelation by the health minister, Philip Dunne that 123,211 retired NHS workers had been overpaid a total of £92 million between 2012 - 13 and 2016 - 17, rising from a total of £17 million being overpaid annually to over £19 million.