HC Deb 07 February 2001 vol 362 cc549-50W
Mr. Willetts

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security for each year since 1988, how many married men have transferred their company preserved pension into an appropriate personal pension; and what effect this has on a married man's widow's SERPS entitlement should he die before retirement age. [148495]

Mr. Rooker

The information is not available in the format requested. Such information as is available is as follows.

A married man who contracts out of SERPS into an appropriate personal pension gives up all or part of his additional pension from the state scheme. He must provide for a widow's benefit when he buys an annuity on retirement.

Mr. Drew

To ask the Secretary of State for Social Security what assessment he has made of proposals to change the arrangement for pension entitlements to a dependent spouse after the death of the policyholder. [147491]

Mr. Rooker

[holding answer 26 January 2001]: On the state pensions side, where the person with the SERPS entitlement dies, there will be no change to the current arrangements for the following people: Those who are already widowed now and are receiving a SERPS pension. Those who are not widows or widowers now, but whose husbands or wives die between now and 5 October 2002.

We are also consulting on regulations which would mean there would also be no change for people who are widowed on or after 6 October 2002 but whose late husband or wife reached state pension age on or before 5 October 2002.

We have no plans to alter the inheritance arrangements with regard to the basic state pension or to contracted-out occupational pension schemes or appropriate personal pensions.