HC Deb 16 July 1987 vol 119 c1273
11. Mr. Stern

asked the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he has any plans to improve the pensions of police widows in cases where such pensions are already in payment.

Mr. Douglas Hogg

In common with all state and public service pensions, police widows' pensions were increased by 2.1 per cent. from 6 April; a further cost of living increase will be due next April.

Mr. Stern

May I gently remind my hon. Friend of the police claim that reserved widows' pensions could not be met because my hon. Friend was fearful of setting a precedent by increasing a pension that was already in payment? I draw his attention to the fact that such increases are now becoming increasingly common in the commercial sector. I hope that he will look again at this matter from the point of view that the public service should not lag behind what is becoming increasingly good practice elsewhere.

Mr. Hogg

I am afraid that I cannot encourage my hon. Friend. My right hon. Friend the Home Secretary was very sympathetic, but I am afraid that it was not possible to agree increases of the kind that were suggested. There were essentially two reasons for that. First, to do so would breach a long-standing convention that public sector pensions should not be enhanced retrospectively. Secondly, because there were other groups in comparable situations, the cost of making the concession would be very great indeed.