Skip to main content

Teachers: Pensions

Question for Department for Education

UIN 121317, tabled on 9 January 2018

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps he is taking to ensure equality in survivor benefits for widows and widowers in the Teachers’ pension scheme.

Answered on

15 January 2018

Pensions for widows were introduced in 1972 to most public sector pension schemes, including the Teachers’ Pension Scheme (TPS). Surviving partner pensions were extended in 1988 to cover widowers, in 2005 for civil partners and in 2014 for same sex marriage spouses. The Government has made it clear that it believes that it is right that married same sex couples and civil partners should be treated equally to married opposite sex couples. That is why TPS legislation ensures that survivor benefits, accrued since 1988, are built up equally for all legal relationships.

The Supreme Court Case of Walker v Innospec, has confirmed that the surviving partner of a pension scheme member must not be treated differently based on their sexual orientation. HM Treasury is responsible for policy in this area and will soon provide instructions to departments on the implication of the Walker case. When the full extent of this ruling is understood, we will take all steps necessary to ensure the TPS complies.