MP for Cheltenham Martin Horwood has written to the Treasury calling for a full commitment on maintaining pensions for the widows, widowers and civil partners of Intelligence Services personnel who die in the line of duty.
In the budget statement on Wednesday the Chancellor explicitly outlined changes to the current pension arrangements for the spouses of firefighters, police and security service members, to reverse “historic injustices”. However, in the text of the budget itself, it states that immediate changes will only be made for firefighters and police, and only commits to “examine the possibility of making similar changes” for members for the Intelligence Services.
In his letter to the Treasury, Martin wrote, “I am concerned that ‘examining the possibility’ is not a clear commitment to reversing historic injustices, especially when members of the intelligence services who do die in the line of duty are often in a position where their service cannot be publicised, and in fact their service connections deliberately (and properly) obscured.
If we cannot give them the public honour they deserve, at the very least we can commit to giving their remaining families the same survivor benefits which will now be afforded to police officers and firefighters.”
Martin has also taken the opportunity today to raise the issue with ministers from the Department for Work and Pensions in the budget debate. Speaking in the House of Commons he said “Many of my constituents here in Cheltenham work tirelessly in the security services to protect our country. It is fantastic that these pension injustices have been reversed for our firefighters and police men and women, but it is unfair that the government has not yet made the same revisions for the Intelligence Services. I am raising my concerns at the highest level and will press for rapid clarification from the relevant ministers.”