Rules ‘discriminate’ against armed forces widows, say peers

SPEAKING OUT Admiral Sir Alan West
SPEAKING OUT Admiral Sir Alan West

‘UK needs to boost its budget for the military’

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LORDS attacked the government over ‘unfair and discriminatory’ treatment of military widows.

Lord Craig of Radley and former first sea lord Admiral Lord Alan West criticised ministers for depriving widows who choose to remarry or cohabit of their service widow’s pension.

But defence minister Lord Astor of Hever resisted calls from across the House for a change of policy on the controversial issue.

Labour former chief of naval staff Lord West of Spithead said: ‘It’s shameful that we can’t look at this. It’s appalling we have people policing these women ... who now want to be married or live with somebody and will probably have a worse standard of living.

‘If I die, I want my wife to have a happy second life. I think it is appalling and we should do something about it.’

Lord Astor told him: ‘This is done to protect the taxpayer.’

Lord Astor said the cost of not suspending pensions on remarriage or cohabitation was estimated to be about £250,000 a year.