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Widows (Financial Support)

Volume 448: debated on Thursday 29 June 2006

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government plan to take to improve the financial position of widows in their late 50s and 60s who rely on half of their deceased husbands' pension as their main income. (78513)

I have been asked to reply.

Our proposals, published in the White Paper, Security in retirement: towards a new pensions system (Cm6841), are a bold blueprint for reform, which include delivering fair outcomes for women and continuing to target resources on those most in need.

We intend to continue to uprate the pension credit standard guarantee in line with earnings over the long-term, securing pensioners, including widows, against poverty.

The White Paper also sets out our commitment to strengthen retirement incomes for all pensioners by linking the uprating of basic state pension to average earnings. A widow, who claims a state pension based on her husband's national insurance record, will benefit from this proposed uprating strategy.

In addition, our intention is that the proposed new crediting arrangements for carers from 2010, including the replacement of home responsibilities protection with a weekly credit and the introduction of a new carer's credit, would also apply to bereavement benefits.