Welcome news for Connah’s Quay war widow –remarry pension rules set to be reviewed
The Alyn and Deeside AM campaigning for pension justice for War Widows has welcomed news of a review into whether Ministry of Defence rules are discriminatory.
Alyn and Deeside AM Carl Sargeant has been campaigning for the MoD to give all UK war widows equal rights to a war widow’s pension for life, regardless of whether or when they remarry.
Mr Sargeant took up the case with Kath Webster, the widow of Sergeant Malcolm Wigley of Connah’s Quay who died in the Falklands War in 1982.
Mrs Webster had to surrender her war widows’ pension when she remarried, yet from April 1 2015 war widow pensions were awarded for life, with the rule only applying going forward.
A disappointing series of letters between Mr Sargeant and Mark Lancaster MP took place this summer, in which the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State and Minister for Defence Personnel and Veterans said the UK Government cannot apply pension changes retrospectively because of the financial implications.
Now Mr Sargeant has received some positive news from the Equality and Human Rights Commission in response to his request that they undertake a review into the matter.
David Isaac CBE, chair of the Commission, wrote:
“I am grateful to you for bringing this to the Commission’s attention. We are reviewing the legal position and in particular whether the rules applying to certain war widows who remarried may amount to discrimination on the grounds of marital status.”
Carl Sargeant said:
“Kath Webster and I are delighted at this news. We believe a war widows’ pension for life should be awarded in recognition of the contribution the family has made for our country, and awarded equally. It is unfair to assume that because someone has a partner they are financially better off – and to me, to do that is to discriminate.
“I hope this review will make a difference for war widows like Kath. Mr Isaac has advised me that the review will take some time but he will update me on its progress in November.”
A petition launched by Mr Sargeant and Mrs Webster has attracted 444 signatures and can be signed at https://goo.gl/xg2q8y or a paper copy signed at Carl Sargeant’s office in Connah’s Quay
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