Davey secures PM commitment to end injustice in support for bereaved children

At Prime Minister’s Questions today Ed Davey, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats, secured a commitment from the Prime Minister to end the deep injustice in bereavement support for children of unmarried parents.

In the House of Commons, Ed highlighted the case of Kevin Simpson, whose children were deprived of bereavement support payments on the death of their mother simply because their parents were unmarried. On Friday 7 February the High Court ruled that this was in breach of their human rights.

Home Affairs spokesperson Ed Davey

In his response the Prime Minister gave a commitment to “do what we can” to remedy the injustice. 

At Prime Minister’s Questions, Ed Davey said:  “When Kevin Simpson’s partner of over 12 years died, and his two children lost their mother, the family received no Bereavement Support Payment at all. Because the parents were unmarried the law denied that support to their two grieving children.

Last Friday, the High Court ruled that this breached the children’s human rights. So when will the Government obey the rule of law – and legislate to respond both to that ruling and the similar ruling by the Supreme Court in the McLaughlin case in 2018?

“Will there be no further delay so we can start supporting the thousands of similar children across our country who lose their mother and father every year?”

The Prime Minister responded: “The Rt Hon Gentleman has raised this with me before and I have undertaken to meet him on that matter.

“We will certainly look at the case he mentions and see what exactly our response should be, but he is right to draw attention to this injustice and we will do what we can to remedy it.”

Following Prime Minister’s Questions, Ed Davey said: “It is cruel beyond belief that the current system penalises grieving children on the basis of the marital status of their parents.

“For any child, losing a parent is a tragedy – one that happens all too often. Every child must be guaranteed the same level of support, regardless of whether their parents were married.

“We don’t need a High Court ruling to tell us the importance of equal support to all children who have lost a parent. It’s just basic human decency.

“The Prime Minister must act urgently to amend the law to ensure that no child faces this injustice in future.”

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