UK - A petition calling for the government to block "immoral" changes to the Armed Forces Pension Scheme will be presented to parliament next month.
The petition – which has been signed by more than 3000 people within the armed forces, including scheme members – seeks to overturn rules which axe survivor benefits for widows who re-marry.
The petition – organised by lobby groups the Pension Trough Group and the Forces Pension Society – also seeks to reinstate benefits for widows who married a scheme member after he retired and widows of a serviceman who retired prior to 1975 and served less than a year.
It also aims to block the introduction of a mandatory retirement age of 55 with final salary accrual rate of 1/70th for soldiers who have served more than 20 years – a move lobby groups say will make it “impossible” for many to accrue a decent pension.
It calls for the appointment of scheme trustees – a measure PTG spokesman Keith Hawes said would ensure such “shortcomings” were addressed.
“There will be a lot of people who will fall short of a secure retirement. “We want to make sure the government addresses current and future concerns.”
The changes – which will be introduced as part of the Armed Forces Pensions and Compensation Bill – are due to come into force from April 2005 for new entrants and no later than April 2007 for existing members.
Conservative defence spokesman Gerald Howarth will make another attempt to block it in the Commons prior to its third reading.
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