HC Deb 07 February 2001 vol 362 cc552-3W
Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security (1) what discussions he has had with pensioner groups of the importance of pension entitlements after re-marriage; [147490]

(2) if he will make a statement on the impact of pension sharing on an individual after (a) divorce and (b) re-marriage; [147488]

(3) if he will take steps to ensure that a divorcee does not receive a reduced pension entitlement after re-marriage. [147489]

Mr. Rooker

[holding answer 26 January 2001]: We have consulted widely on our pensions policies, including that relating to pension sharing.

Since 1 December 2000 divorcing couples can apply to the courts to share pension rights held in occupational and personal pensions, the State Earnings-Related Pension Scheme (SERPS) and the stakeholder pension, and the state second pension, when these are introduced.

Pension sharing will give each divorcing individual a share in the pension rights. These rights will belong to the recipient and will not be dependent on the circumstances of the ex-spouse. They can be kept regardless of subsequent changes in personal circumstances including re-marriage.

Some women expecting to receive a Category B basic pension, based on their former husband's national insurance record, may see a reduction in that pension if they re-marry before reaching pension age. That is because their Category B pension will be based on their new husband's contribution record. However, the exact financial impact on an individual who re-marries will depend on a variety of factors, in particular the couple's financial circumstances.