War Widows Pensions - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:16 pm on 10th December 2020.

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Photo of Baroness Goldie Baroness Goldie Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip), The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence 12:16 pm, 10th December 2020

Of course, I reaffirm that the Government recognise the unique commitment that service families make to our country and we remain sympathetic to the circumstances of those who remarried and cohabited before 1 April 2015. But the Ministry of Defence is not able to act unilaterally because, in doing that, it could well compromise the position of other government departments and it might unintentionally interfere with or prejudice active litigation in which other departments are involved. That is why I thought it important to explain to the noble Baroness, Lady Crawley, the nature of the complexity. This is not something that the current Government have dreamed up and it is not an artificial obstruction that the Ministry of Defence has created; it is, I am afraid, the consequence of established policy covering such matters as payments when a request is made to make these retrospectively.