I have pledged support for a campaign to grant survivor pensions for life to police widows and widowers.
Following a change to the Police Pension Regulations, there are now three different approaches to survivors’ pensions in the UK and what happens if an individual remarries, co-habits or forms a civil partnership after the death of their spouse.
In Northern Ireland all police widows retain their survivors’ pension upon remarriage, co-habitation or civil partnership irrespective of the circumstances of the death of their spouse. Whereas throughout the rest of the UK, the pension is only retained if the death of the spouse occurred on duty or as a result of an injury on duty. To further complicate matters in England and Wales the pension is only retained if the remarriage or cohabitation occurred after 1 April 2015, whereas in Scotland there is no such restriction.
This unfair policy puts widows and widowers in an incredibly difficult position, forced to make a choice between financial security or isolation. This is why National Association for Retired Police Officers (NARPO) is urgently calling for the UK Government to align the status and rights of police widows and widowers in England, Wales and Scotland with the rights of Northern Ireland police widows and widowers. This would mean that they would retain their pension entitlement in full regardless of how and when their spouse died.
I believe all police widows and widowers deserve to be treated the same throughout the UK. Their contribution to public service often goes unrecognised but they provide crucial support to their spouses in conducting their roles, both emotionally and practically. They should be given the opportunity to live out the rest of their lives with both financial security and the option to remarry or cohabit.
NARPO Chief Executive, Steve Edwards, said:
“We hear from our members every day about the significant impact this policy has had on their lives and the lives of their families. We are very grateful for the support we’ve received from parliamentarians. It is now time for the Government to recognise that this inequality that exists within the UK is unjust and rethink their approach.”