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World News

'Honour the widow' Justin Welby calls on PM to pay war widows their 'rightful pension'

by Donna Birrell

The Archbishop of Canterbury has called on the government to "put right" the fact that a group of war widows who remarried after the deaths of their husbands, are not allowed to claim their pensions.

Speaking to the Telegraph, the Most Reverend Justin Welby said the Prime Minister was doing a "very great wrong" to widows who remarried between 1973 and 2015 who have missed out on their late husbands' lifelong pensions:  

"One of the Bible's strongest, clearest, and most often repeated commands is to care for and honour the widow. The plight of the war widows who are not able to receive their military pensions is a very great wrong.

"To find love and happiness again after such loss and heartbreak only to be denied their rightful pension, and for many their means of living, leaves many in a cruel and unjustifiable situation and facing unbearable decisions," he said. "It must be put right."

In April 2015, changes were introduced to the pension scheme which mean that all those who qualified would receive the pension for life. But the changes weren't applied retrospectively, leaving around 200 women unable to claim the money.

Moira Kane is Chair of the War Widows' Association which has been campaigning for years to reverse the decision:

"All other war widows have a pension for life since 2015. Just because of dates, these ladies are being treated differently to all other war widows.

"They should never have had their pension removed in the first place.

"We're calling on the PM to show the Government cares about our military families."

A spokesman for the Ministry of Defence said: "We recognise the significant commitment that service families make to our country and continue to consider ways to support those who are affected by the 2015 pension changes."
 

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