Police widows’ pension campaign has ear of First Minister

Posted on April 10, 2015 | Category :Uncategorized | Comments Off

Nicola and Christine

CARE of Police Survivors has met with the Scottish First Minister to discuss the future of pensions for police widows and widowers.

Christine Fulton, COPS Co-founder, met Nicola Sturgeon (right) to discuss the injustice of bereaved partners losing their pensions if they go on to remarry or cohabit. However, this may change after an announcement from Chancellor George Osborne in his final budget of this Parliament.

The budget statement read: “On 1 April 2015, the Government will be introducing new and reformed public service pension 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.”

Ms Sturgeon, who chatted with Christine at the Scottish Police Federation conference, said she fully supported the COPS cause but any changes would have to go through the Scottish Parliament.

Christine said: “The situation is still unclear. Nicola Sturgeon was fully aware of what has happened in Northern Ireland [where widow’s pensions were reinstated after marriage] and England and Wales and what the rest of us are doing and she said she was waiting to see what England and Wales would do.

“She was fully supportive that the pensions will go through in Scotland but we do not know to what degree and when until we know what comes out of England and Wales. I am really pleased that she was genuinely interested.”

The reinstatement of widows’ pensions has taken years of campaigning by COPS. However the Treasury has confirmed the move is not retrospective.

Christine added: “I am so pleased with how far it has come in recent months. It really came on leaps and bounds. We were stuck for a long time. They just kept saying that it couldn’t be done and then Northern Ireland changed it and it showed that it could be done. Then the Government changed it for the Armed forces. Once that happened we really went from strength to strength.”

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.

Interested parties will now have to wait until after May’s General Election to find out what will happen to the pensions.

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