Wales politics

Police pension rules keep couple apart, Madeleine Moon says

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Media captionStop putting a price on love, says Madeleine Moon

An elderly couple are spending their "twilight years" apart because of a "petty injustice" on police pensions, a Welsh MP has told the Commons.

Bridgend MP Madeleine Moon said rules which mean some pensioners lose cash if they remarry or live with a new partner were "putting a price on love".

She said one couple, aged 75 and 80, were living 100 miles apart because one of the pair receives a widow's pension.

Policing Minister Brandon Lewis said pensions must be fair and sustainable.

Under the 1987 Police Pension Scheme, police widows and widowers who remarry, or move in with a partner, have their pensions revoked.

In 2015, the UK government amended the rules to make an exception for spouses of officers killed in the line of duty, but only if they remarried or moved in with a partner after 1 April that year.

Labour MP Ms Moon said ministers should not "seek to profit" by "condemning 22,000 widows to a life of loneliness and isolation" through the loss of police pensions.

Referring to one couple affected by the ruling, she said: "They want to spend their twilight years together without financial penalty - why are they being denied that right?

"We have to stop putting a price on love, and this government has to make sure that the widows and widowers, and their children, have access to the pension rights that were put there to protect them for the future."

Image caption Police do not face the same combination of risk to life and disruption to family as the armed forces, Mr Lewis said

Responding for the government, Mr Lewis said it recognised the risks faced by police officers as part of their job, pointing to the changes to the pension rules in 2015.

But he said there was a difference with the armed forces, where the "mobile nature" of life made it difficult for the partners of service personnel to provide for their own financial future.

"The same combination of risk to life of the member and disruption to family life can not be said to apply to other public service workforces," Mr Lewis said.

"In the case of police officers, we do not believe it would be justified to make the same changes for all survivors of police officers."

He added: "We have made clear our commitment to ensuring that public service pensions are affordable, sustainable and fair," saying this applied to taxpayers as well as scheme members.

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