Forces Widows Pension (Equality of Treatment) Bill

Forces Widows Pension (Equality of Treatment) Bill

Second reading - Private Members Bill

Hansard HC Deb 19 June 2009 cc 584-606WH

Mr. Michael Mates (East Hampshire) (Con): “...........Through the Bill, I seek to end the unfairness whereby widows of those who retired before 31 March 1973, more than 36 years ago, receive a pension that is one third of their late husband’s pension, while the widows of servicemen who retired on or after that date receive a pension equal to half their late husband’s pension.

I am grateful to the Forces Pension Society for providing me with an example, which, sadly, the Ministry of Defence declined to do. The widow of an Army captain who joined aged 21 in 1938, and who retired at 55, as they do, on 1 April 1972, with 34 years’ service would be entitled to a pension of one third of his pay then, amounting to some £5,600 today. However, if that Army captain had joined aged 21 in April 1973 and retired aged 55 in April 2007, his widow would be entitled to half his pension. Given the same rate, that would be just over £11,000.

Both widows would have the same sort of household expenditure. One would have had a husband who fought for his country in the second world war, but would receive only a one-third pension; the other would have had a husband who served later and who had probably never gone to war, and she would receive one half of her husband’s pension........”

The second reading was adjourned under Standing Order 11(2) and will resume on Friday 16 October 2009

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