Police: Pensions

Home Office written question – answered on 16th October 2014.

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Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many widows of police officers ceased to be entitled to a continued dependant's pension following remarriage in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available.

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent representations she has received from widows of police officers on continuing entitlement to dependants' pensions on remarriage.

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will make it her policy to allow police widows and widowers in England and Scotland in receipt of dependants' pensions to continue to receive such pensions in the event of remarriage.

Photo of Cathy Jamieson Cathy Jamieson Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will estimate the cost to the public purse of treating pensions for police widows and widowers in England and Scotland in the same way as those in Northern Ireland in respect of remarriage.

Photo of Mike Penning Mike Penning The Minister of State, Home Department, The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice

Information is not available for each of the last 10 years. Data collected for the police pension scheme valuation recorded 131 cessations of spouse pensions due to remarriages over the period 2008-12.

A small number of letters have been received in the Home Office from widows of police officers on this issue.

Under the 1987 Police Pension Scheme, in common with most other public service pension schemes of that time, benefits cease to be payable where a widow or widower remarries or cohabits with another partner. The rules were changed in 2006 for the 2006 Police Pension Scheme which was costed to allow for these benefits, and there are no proposals to apply these changes to the 1987 scheme in England and Wales. The police pension scheme in Scotland is a matter for the Scottish Government.

As part of the police pension scheme valuation as at 2012 the scheme actuary estimated that ignoring cessation on remarriage for current and future widows would increase the schemes’ liabilities in England and Wales by around £50 million based on recent rates of remarriage, not including the cost of reinstating pensions of widows who have already remarried.

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