New Forest East

TREASURY – WAR WIDOWS' PENSIONS [23620] - 29 February 2020

TREASURY – WAR WIDOWS' PENSIONS [23620] - 29 February 2020

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer, pursuant to the Answer of 27 February 2020 to Question 18425 on Pensions: War Widows; if he will make an assessment of (a) the potential merits and (b) compliance with financial legislation of introducing ex gratia awards of compensation of sacrifice made to the estimated 265 war widows whose pensions were withdrawn on remarriage or cohabitation and have not been restored.  [23620]

[Due for Answer on 9 March.]


The Chief Secretary to the Treasury (Steve Barclay): In 2014, the Government made prospective changes to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme (AFPS) and War Pension Scheme (WPS). These provided that any Military Widow(er) who remarried or cohabited from 1 April 2015 onwards would retain their pension for life. There was no underlying assumption that those who had lost their pension on remarriage or cohabitation prior to these reforms should divorce or separate from their partner. The Government currently has no plans to reinstate war widow(er)s pensions with retrospective effect. The Government’s policy presumption is that changes will not be made retrospectively. This policy is the foundation for keeping public service pensions sustainable.

‘Pensions for life’ for surviving widow(er)s and civil partners were introduced across most public service pension schemes from the late 1990s to the late 2000s, with prospective effect. Existing members of pension schemes who were accruing pensions were usually given the option to remain on former schemes or move across to new schemes. Survivors’ pension entitlements are still subject to cessation if the survivor remarries or cohabits under the rules of many legacy public service pension schemes. Examples of such schemes are: the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme ‘Classic’ section, the Police Pension Scheme 1987, the Firefighters’ Pension Scheme 1992, and, for members whose service ended before April 2008, the NHS Pension Scheme 1995 section and, for members whose service ended before 2007, the Teachers’ Pension Scheme.