Police widows pension changes – but only from 1 April

Posted on March 18, 2015 | Category :Uncategorized | Comments Off

UK Pension Pounds

THE “historic injustice” of widows and widowers of police officers who die on duty losing their pensions should they remarry or cohabit is to be rectified.

Chancellor George Osborne used his final budget of this Parliament to announce the changes to those who lay down their lives to keep people safe.

But the Treasury has confirmed the move is not retrospective.

This means a long-running campaign by the existing widows and widowers of police officers killed in the line of duty looking to keep they police pensions remains relevant.

A statement in the Budget reads: “The Government will ensure that all widows, widowers and civil partners of police officers and firefighters who are killed on duty will no longer lose their survivor benefits if they remarry, cohabit, or form a civil partnership.

“The Government will also examine the possibility of making similar changes for members of the security services killed on duty.

“On 1 April 2015, the Government will be introducing new and reformed public service penson [sic] schemes. All these new schemes will allow widows, widowers and civil partners across the public sector workforces to retain survivor benefits if they remarry, cohabit or form a civil partnership.”

Under current rules, the pensions of 22,000 serving police officers in Britain would be cancelled if they died on duty and their partners later remarried or moved in with someone.

Kate Hall, whose husband Colin died of a heart attack while serving with West Midlands police in 1987, sacrificed his pension of £300 a month in 2001 when she moved in with her partner after years of living alone.

“Although I could ill-afford to lose the money, living apart was becoming intolerable,” she said.

A petition started by Kate has more than 73,000 signatures since its launch last summer. You can see it and sign it here http://chn.ge/1AtSlw4

She is also calling on all survivors, serving and retired police officers, and families to write to Police Minister Mike Penning explaining the risks of the job and how it affects family life.

Mr Penning has stated that campaigners would need to provide ‘compelling and clear arguments’ for the current pension scheme to be changed.

The Home Office has ordered a review into the “feasibility and affordability” of allowing police widows and widowers to remarry without losing their pensions.

Mr Penning told MPs in a Parliamentary debate there was a compelling case to close the loophole that can hit the bereaved financially if they find another partner.

In July 2014, Northern Ireland reinstated pensions for widows and widowers whose spouses died in service from 1 January 1972, a move campaigners hope is a positive step towards reform elsewhere.

Kate is encouraging people to write to Mr Penning with their views and stories. Please send your letters to Rt Hon Mike Penning MP, The Bury, Queensway, Hemel Hempstead, HP1 1HR or attach to an email and send to mike@penning4hemel.com.

Please mark all letters as ‘Private & Confidential’.  If possible email a copy of your letter to Kate at CathrynHall@outlook.com.




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