Moira Kane, the Chair of the War Widows Association of Great Britain, has sent the following open letter to HM Treasury
I am writing in response to a letter received from the Rt Hon Steve Barclay MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, which denies any form of monetary recompense for those war widows who were forced to relinquish their pension on remarriage or cohabitation. This letter states it cannot be allowed because it would set a precedent amongst all other pension schemes. These few widows are ones whose partners sadly died between 1973 and 2005. All other war widows have a pension for life since 2015. Just because of dates they are being treated differently to all other war widows.
The War Widows’ Association strongly disagrees with this outcome and we are disappointed that a decision has been made by the Treasury without granting us a meeting to discuss the possibilities. In their letter they quote parts of the Armed Forces Covenant but appear to ignore the area which mentions special consideration for those who have given the most, ie the families of those who have given their lives for their country. The decision gives the impression that the Government only follows parts of the Armed Forces Covenant when it suits them or their purpose.
We do not accept that this is the final word concerning our campaign and we will continue to battle for what we think is the just and correct moral outcome for these ladies. These ladies should never have had their pension removed in the first place but the country can put this right now by supporting our campaign and showing the Treasury that we care about our military families. Once you become part of a military family, you remain part of a military family even if the worst happens and your partner is deceased. We do not seek back payment for years of lost income, simply reinstatement. This would allow these approximately 200 ladies to be on a par with all other war widows who since 2015 retain their pension for life.
I am calling on everyone to support us and to get this dreadful decision reversed. Please contact your own MP, the Treasury and the MOD and express your concern over this latest statement from the Treasury.
Quote from Johnny Mercer in the House of Commons on 15 March 2021:
“ The Secretary of State has worked tirelessly on this issue (war widows’ pensions) to try to correct the historic injustice of war widows’ pensions. We continue to examine all possibilities including the ex gratia scheme and all the other ideas that my Rt Hon friend has come up with in his tireless campaigning. We will arrive at a solution. Like I said, the Secretary of State is committed to resolving it, and we will get there in the end.”