Equal Pension Rights for LGBT Couples

Back to all Motions

2013 National LGBT Conference
23 July 2013

Conference welcomes the intention of the Scottish Government to ensure that there is equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) couples when it comes to pensions that are under Scottish control. Hence LGBT teachers, local government workers, NHS staff and police and fire service personnel will have equality in pension provision in Scotland.

As the law currently stands, a bereaved partner in a same sex relationship can get less from an occupational pension scheme than a bereaved wife or husband in the same scheme. This is because there is an exemption for private occupational pensions in The Equality Act which was passed in 2010. The exemption means that is possible for private firms only to provide survivor benefits to those in a civil partnership on pension contributions built up since December 2005 when civil partnerships became law.

As pensions are a matter reserved to Westminster, these laws apply in Scotland and cannot be controlled by the Scottish Parliament. Despite the fact that the Scottish Government has introduced its own same sex marriage law, it is unable to legislate to equalise pension rights.

The Con Dem Government has opposed an amendment to The United Kingdom (UK) Marriage Same Sex Couples Bill by Lord Alli that would have ensured pension equality for same sex couples. His amendment would have required all occupational pension schemes to treat same sex marriages equally with heterosexual marriages.

Conference calls on the National LGBT Committee to encourage branches and regions to lobby the Con Dem government to prove their commitment to equality, follow the lead of The Scottish Government, and allow equality of pension provision to be a reality for all LGBT workers in the UK.