Local MP Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Government's announcement that from 1 April 2015, widows, widowers and surviving civil partners of all members of the Armed Forces Pensions Scheme will retain their pensions for life.
At present, Armed Forces widows lose their right to a pension for life on remarriage or cohabitation. The issue has caused much concern over many years, particularly in the Gosport area which has such strong ties to the military.
Since she was elected in 2010, Caroline has been firmly behind this campaign. Not only has she written numerous letters to Ministers calling for greater fairness in the system, she has also spoken about the issue in Parliament and attended meetings with war widows.
Welcoming the announcement, she said:
"With so many service men and women living in the Gosport area, it is a huge relief to know that their partners now have greater financial security and peace of mind. This has been a long and difficult campaign, supported by many local people; I am pleased that it has been worthwhile and that war widows have now secured this important concession.
With members of our Armed Forces sacrificing so much for our country, it is absolutely crucial that we do everything in our power to ensure that they and their families are not disadvantaged as a result of service. That is the key message of the Armed Forces Covenant and it is fantastic that the revised policy on war widows' pensions now better meets the Government's commitment to this Covenant."
From 1 April next year, the spouse or civil partners of all members of the Armed Forces Pension Scheme 75 and War Pension Scheme will retain their pension for life if they have not already surrendered it due to remarriage or cohabitation. For those who have already surrendered their pension due to remarriage or cohabitation, should that relationship end they can apply to have their pension restored for life.