HC Deb 20 February 1995 vol 255 cc10-1
12. Mr. Austin Mitchell

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what proposals he has for allowing divorcees who paid the reduced rate of contribution to share their husband's pension entitlement.

Mr. Arbuthnot

Provision already exists which allows a divorced woman who does not remarry before pension age to obtain a pension based on her former husband's national insurance contribution record instead of her own in respect of the period up to their divorce.

Mr. Mitchell

Is not that provision inadequate, given that the pension entitlement is one of the biggest assets that married couples have? Should we not have a simple rule that the entitlement from all pensions up to the date of divorce is divided between the couple? Why do we need the inquiry that the Minister mentioned earlier when the principle is clear and we are the only country in the European Union that does not give the wife some entitlement to her pension? Would there not be a considerable saving in benefit if that were done?

Mr. Arbuthnot

The hon. Gentleman is, I think, confusing the state retirement pension with rights to occupational or personal pensions, so I shall simply rely on what I have already said, which is that a great deal of further work is needed, as the Pensions Law Review Committee has said. We are doing that work.

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