In the Budget on 18 March, the Chancellor announced that widows, widowers and surviving civil partners of police officers who have died on duty in England and Wales will no longer lose their survivors’ benefits in future if they remarry, form a civil partnership or cohabit. These pensions will not be re-instated for those who have already lost them through remarriage or cohabitation, though current rules already allow re-instatement if the 'new' relationship ends.
Changes will be limited to those deaths which have occurred whilst on duty. The Home Office will consult the Police Advisory Board for England and Wales (PABEW) shortly on proposals to implement this change and this will include the definition of “on duty”.
As policing is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and Scotland, the Northern Ireland Executive and Scottish Government respectively are responsible for the design and funding of police pensions in those parts of the United Kingdom. The Government has a continuous duty to ensure that public service pensions are affordable, sustainable and fair, both for the members of those schemes and for other taxpayers.