HC Deb 06 March 2002 vol 381 cc320-1W
Ms Walley

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to award armed forces pensions to those who served before 1975; and if he will make a statement. [39486]

Mr. Ingram

I have no plans to award armed forces pensions to those who served before 1975 and left before qualifying for benefits.

Armed Service Pensions were awarded to those who served before 1975 but only to those who completed the necessary qualifying periods of 22 years (from age 18 for other ranks) and 16 years (from age 21 for Officers). Prior to 1975 there was no requirement for pension schemes to preserve benefits for those who left the scheme early. The Armed Forces Pension Scheme is not unique in this respect; the same provisions applied to all pension schemes both in the public and private sector. However, the qualifying periods for the Armed Forces Pension Scheme were less than for most other schemes at that time. In addition, those who left before qualifying for pensions, but had completed nine years (for Officers) 12 years (for other ranks), were paid a gratuity. The provisions were changed in 1975 to meet with the requirements of the Social Security Act 1975 but, in keeping with the policy of successive Governments, the provisions were not made retrospective.

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