Skip to main content

Basic State Pension Inheritance

Volume 573: debated on Monday 13 January 2014

11. What transitional arrangements his Department will make in respect of the ending of basic state pension inheritance. (901903)

The ability to access or increase a state pension based on the national insurance record of a partner or former partner was introduced in the 1940s, but less than 5% of people reaching pension age after the single tier is introduced will be affected by the removal of this facility. We are putting in place transitional arrangements for certain women who paid the married woman’s stamp, but to go beyond that and make transitional arrangements for a broader group would severely damage the simplicity of the scheme.

Can my hon. Friend confirm that protection will be put in place for those women who have paid the married woman’s stamp, to ensure that they receive a decent state pension?

Yes, I can. Women who paid the married woman’s stamp at any point in the 35 years before the scheme comes in will get the pension that they expected—namely, the 60% for married women and the 100% widow’s pension.

When the Minister announced his flat-rate state pension reform, the key argument was that the public would henceforth have clarity about what they could expect from the state in retirement. Now we find, via a parliamentary question tabled by my hon. Friend the Member for Erith and Thamesmead (Teresa Pearce), that the Government have no intention of writing to individuals to communicate what the state pension changes will mean for them and their families. Why did the Minister give the impression that the Government would write to people about their state pension entitlement if he has no intention of doing so?

I am slightly baffled by that question, because our reforms to the state pension will affect everyone who reaches state pension age after 2016. That is almost the entire working age population. Is the hon. Gentleman really suggesting that we should write 40 million letters?