Over the weekend, The Daily Express reported that the Prime Minister has personally intervened to order officials to find a solution to the war widows pension issue. She has called for a way of ‘closing the legal loophole that means around 300 women lost their payments because they remarried’.
The article states that
Tory MPs stepped up the pressure on Chancellor Philip Hammond to “do the right thing” by announcing changes when he gives his Spring Statement on the economy. The Treasury has been at War Widows the centre of the resistance to demands for change highlighted by the Daily Express’s support for war widows. Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has raised the issue on a number of occasions during talks with the Prime Minister. Mrs May’s involvement will raise hopes that reforms are imminent. She has ordered Ministry of Defence and Treasury officials to work together to find a solution. A Whitehall source said: “We are looking at remedying this situation as quickly as possible.”
The FPS would like to state that this is not simply a problem for war widows, it is a problem for all Armed Forces widows who surrendered their pensions on remarriage. In 2015 when the government changed the rules to prevent all future remarriages of Armed Forces widows being subject to pension surrender, they accepted our argument that this was an Armed Forces Covenant issue. That remains the case – for all past widows as well. Changing the rules for war widows only would therefore not be sufficient, nor would it be consistent with the rule change of 2015. Such a change would in our view be discriminatory since it would not cater for some Armed Forces widows who are in a worse position than war widows. So of course we support change, but it must be fair – and that means it must apply to all Armed Forces widows who surrendered their pensions on remarriage.
Image Theresa May Attribution: Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery Office OGL3