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Retired Police Officers

Volume 408: debated on Thursday 3 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations he has received regarding the position of retired police officers who have their pension reduced to pay for an increased widows pension, where their wives pre-deceased them before or after retirement; and if he will make a statement. [115067]

In the period since 8 June 2001, hon. and right hon. Members have tabled one Early Day Motion, asked six questions and written 14 letters to Ministers on the general issue of widows' pensions. Five of these 14 letters were specifically concerned with officers whose pension has been reduced to pay for an increased widows' pension.We have sympathy for those who elected to have their pension reduced to pay for an increased widow's pension but whose wives pre-deceased them. However, such an election was an alternative option to paying increased pensions contributions while still serving. It would run counter to the principle of a contributory occupational pension scheme, in which benefits are guaranteed only in specified circumstances, to return contributions in any case where those circumstances did not apply.