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Widows pensions to be debated

Widows pensions to be debated

Wednesday 25 September 2019

Widows pensions to be debated

Wednesday 25 September 2019

A historic loophole in Guernsey's pension law, which causes "unnecessary hardship" for widows who remarry someone without a Guernsey pension, is the subject of a requete in the States today.

This week's meeting features some business left over from the previous States debate, at which the future of education was decided in a meeting that ran until Friday evening.

This week's schedule is considerably less busy by comparison and could be concluded within a day. 

Following question time and general statements from ESC President Matt Fallaize and DPA President Dawn Tindall about their respective mandates, the States will debate the pay that Deputies receive next term and a requete led by Deputy Peter Ferbrache. 

New States policy was implemented in 2004 that moved away from one set of rules for entitlement to Social Insurance benefits based on the Beveridge concept of a nuclear family, to a new set of rules based on individualised contribution records.

Prior to that, widows who remarried someone without a Guernsey pension were able to substitute their deceased husband's pension average, calculated at the end of marriage, for their own, a practice which is no longer available to people in the situation outlined above. 

Those behind the requete say this is "particularly unfair" and, given the rarity and defined limits of this situation, amending the situation would make a "negligible" difference on the social insurance fund. 


Pictured: Deputy Gavin St Pier is concerned about the financial impacts if the scope of the requete was broadened out to other bereavement benefits. 

It is understood Employment & Social Security, which the matter falls under, and the majority of Policy & Resources will oppose the requete.

"The Committee notes that the Committee for Employment & Social Security, as the lead Committee with a mandate most relevant to the policy issues raised by the requête, will oppose the requête on grounds of both principle and policy as set out in Deputy Le Clerc’s letter of 23 July 2019 to Deputy Trott," said Deputy Gavin St Pier.

"The Committee supports the Committee for Employment & Social Security in opposing the requête, by majority. The Committee notes that the requête, as drafted, is currently limited in its scope and is therefore unlikely to have significant expenditure consequences for the Social Insurance Fund. However, if the scope of the Requête was to be broadened, or similar changes were to be applied to other bereavement benefits, such as Widowed Parent’s Allowance, then the expenditureimplications could become more significant and would be a cause for concern."

ESS will propose its uprating of the minimum wage, which it wants to set at £8.50 per hour for adults and £8.05 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17.

A review looking into a possible extension of Guernsey Airport within the current boundaries, which was dismissed by the Director of Civil Aviation, will also be discussed. 

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