War Widows

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Defence – in the House of Commons at 2:30 pm on 24th November 2014.

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Photo of Anna Soubry Anna Soubry The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 2:30 pm, 24th November 2014

The Secretary of State and I are always happy to go to the RAFA club in Newark to enjoy a couple of sherbets. Answering my hon. Friend’s question as posed, in blunt terms, the decision was made using the covenant. The view was taken, quite properly, that this section of our armed forces—those widows—suffered a disadvantage by virtue of, usually, their husbands’ service. That is why we did this under the covenant. No Government have ever supported retrospective changes—as would be required for the widows of police officers and members of our fire brigades—in pension plans. I understand the injustice—I absolutely get that—but it would require retrospective changes, which are not a good idea. As I say, the changes made were done quite properly under the covenant, which this Government introduced and put into law.

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George Morley
Posted on 25 Nov 2014 6:53 pm (Report this annotation)

I would tend to agree with Anna Soubry and the fact that the service wives are often parted from their husbands for not just a few days but months and years whereas police and firemen do not except for some very occasional emergency for a matter of days.
The one big problem is with the state pension which if a serviceman or woman should retire without qualifying for a service pension and have just the state pension to support them. Should they then retire to or be in a Commonwealth country, that state pension will be frozen and they will receive no annual increases ever.
Now that needs to be addressed by you.