Sir, The government should abandon its attempts to find a quick fix to the pension allowance taper problem affecting high earners including doctors and judges (“Pension tax windfall for top earners”, Jan 16, and letter, Jan 17).
The pension tax system is a bloated, inefficient mess. It fails to work effectively in so many different ways that only a comprehensive rethink will do. It is rare that governments have the opportunity to tackle intractable problems of this nature. The last major pension tax reform was in 2006. George Osborne tried again in 2015 but gave up in the face of entrenched vested interests. If we do not do it now in 2020, it may be a decade before we get another chance. Unlike in 2015, a consensus for reform can be achieved. For employers, who have recently been made to meet auto-enrolment requirements and who probably want no more to do on the matter, the unfortunate reality is they can either pay a bit more now or a lot more later. We should not waste this opportunity. The chancellor should announce a review of pension taxation in the budget on March 11.
Head of policy, Hargreaves Lansdown