Campaign 300

Campaign 300 was so named because after the successful conclusion of the Pension For Life campaign, it was thought that about 300 widows had been forced to forfeit their war widows’ pension on remarriage or cohabitation and they were not included in the new legislation.

The Trustees are fighting for these ladies to have their war widows’ pension restored. This campaign is backed in the House of Commons by Dr Julian Lewis and in the House of Lords by our President and Vice Presidents. If they were to divorce their current husband they would be entitled to have their pension restored. There would then be nothing to stop them remarrying and keeping that pension which is a ridiculous situation.

At the moment the Treasury is refusing to discuss restoring the pension but are looking at a proposal put forward by Ben Wallace, the Secretary of State for Defence which would give each of these ladies an ex-gratia payment.

WWA Trustees updates are below and all other news and info is towards the bottom of the page.


WWA TRUSTEE UPDATES:

6th February 2024: Update from WWA Chair:
Yesterday I had an email from the Ministry of Defence concerning the applications for the ex gratia payment.

By 05/02/24 they had received 301 applications. They had made decisions on 164. 128 were eligible for payment.

Moira, Chair of the WWA

30th January 2024: Update on Ex Gratia Payment for War Widows (members only access)

20th January 2024: Update from Moira Kane, Chair of the WWA
The War Widows Compensation Award.
What a misnomer! The Government have turned it around and in actual fact whatever they may choose to call it, it is in fact a compensation ex gratia payment for those who remarried before 2000 and had to forfeit their attributable pension. 

They have totally let us down and we will fight this with whatever means possible. Personally, I feel that the wording on the application form where it says : and/or a pension in accordance with the rules of the War Pension Scheme prior to 2015 —- Is talking about the War Widows Pension.

I wrote to our lawyer yesterday asking for his advice but I have yet to hear back from him.

I wrote to the MOD and expressed my anger at the mess they had managed to create and how I wished I had known about the letters on Thursday when we met.

This is inexcusable behaviour on the part of the Government and my heart goes out to all of you who learnt yesterday that you were not eligible for this payment. Don’t give up because we certainly have not. 

Finally, how dare they say that you only have 3 months to challenge this decision. That can not be correct. Why such a short time? That can only benefit them certainly not our ladies. 

Yours, Moira 

19th January 2024: Message from Moira Kane, Chair of the WWA
Today (18/01/24) Debbie and I had a meeting with the MOD. We expressed our anger over the new criteria which had emerged concerning attributable pensions. The delay in anyone receiving any money or indeed a letter saying whether or not they were eligible for the ex gratia payment. The poor standard of advice being given by Vet’s UK . The fact that we were not kept up to date with changes which were made or allowed to see the claim form in advance of it going live.

To be honest although we received a few apologies we were left with the impression that they felt that all was sorted and no changes would now be made.

In the afternoon we met with Dr Julian Lewis MP. Julian attended the original meeting with Leo Docherty, Chris Dziuba and myself where we discussed the war widows pension and using the Armed Forces Covenant to get compensation. It was his idea that the minimum payment should be 10 times the average war widows pension. Needless to say he is very angry at how it has been so dramatically altered without anyone being consulted and leaving a cohort of ladies unable to receive the compensation. He has a few ideas which he is researching and will get back us soon.

We have also been working with a friendly lawyer and he has given us ideas about writing a Parliamentary Petition and also questions for our President and Vice Presidents to raise in the House of Lords. We feel that we need the post office fiasco to die down before we go public with a petition but we have written an outline of one which he is tweaking and it will be ready to go when the time is right.

Yesterday, I wrote again to the head of Veteran’s UK and gave details of a conversation which one member had with them. It is obvious to all that there is no dedicated team of advisors as promised and that the language used can be insensitive and unacceptable. I was pleased to hear that he had already been in touch with the MOD about this case and is going to use the recording of the conversation as a teaching aid in how not to answer the phone! Not that that helps this specific lady but hopefully it will make future calls more informative.

UPDATE: It is now Friday and I have received news that letters have started to arrive today giving members the news of whether or not they are eligible for the payment. Those who are eligible will be pleased with the outcome. To those who have been told that they are not eligible because they receive an attributable pension please don’t give up hope as we will continue to fight for you.

Yours, Moira

13th January 2024: Message from Moira Kane, Chair of the WWA
It has come to my attention that there are wild rumours concerning the ex gratis payment being circulated.

Please can I assure you that as soon as we have information of any kind that we will pass it on to you as quickly as possible.

So far I have not heard of anyone who has received their entitled payment. This ought to be happening now and I have asked Vet’s UK again why there is a delay.

There is I hope absolutely no truth in the rumour that the Government are dragging their feet as there will be an election this year and the whole scheme could be scrapped with a change of Government. Firstly, the election may not be until December and that is not dragging their feet but refusing to pay. Secondly we have engaged in talks with other political parties and all are behind the scheme.

Please do not encourage these or other rumours to spread. It causes even more distress to those who are already extremely anxious.

The Trustees are actively working with the Government and the Ministry of Defence to achieve fairness for all with the ex gratis payment.

Yours, Moira

4th January 2024: Trustees meet with lawyer

26th October 2023: Also posted into our private members area
One of our members managed to have a discussion with Veteran’s UK today after she had
experienced some difficulties with the form. She was given some useful information which I
am now passing onto you.

They are asking for a lot of information from you. The more you can provide the easier it is
for them to resolve your claim but don’t worry if you don’t have it all. Submit the form
anyway.

Time from receipt of claim to payment will be about 60 working days.

Even although the claim form still states that to be eligible you must not be in receipt of the
attributable pension, put in your claim form anyway. We are working to get this changed.

Any problem then email Karen on DBSVets-Widows@mod.gov.uk.
Moira Kane
Chair of the War Widows Association

20th September 2023: Committee of Trustees Statement (members only access)

9th August 2023: Also posted into our private members area
The Chair recently emailed the MOD to ask what progress was being made on applications for the payment of the lump sum offered to those who were unable to have their War Pension reinstated.  She pointed out that we had not heard anything for some time and the summer was rushing by.  We received the following reply:-

“Significant work has been going on by several government Departments – discussing the issues of taxation and how the payment will affect benefits.  Final decisions have not yet been made, but once any decisions have been approved by Ministers, we will advise you and the ladies affected immediately.  The MOD still plans to open the scheme for applications in the autumn 2023 and announcements will be made as soon as this happens.”

Please be assured that as soon as the Association has any further information we will tell the Campaign 300 group and members, post it on the website and publicise it through the ex service community as widely as we can.  The reply went on to say:-

“Members who believe themselves eligible are welcome to contact Veterans UK now.  Veterans UK will take a few details to enable them to contact the Members as soon as the Scheme opens and assist them with their applications.”

So you can now contact Veterans’ UK – just to register your interest and so they can get back in touch as soon as applications open. 

The number is 0808 1914 2 18 (Overseas +44 1253 866 043) the office is open 8.00am to 4.00pm or email veterans-uk@mod.gov.uk.

Please make a note of the date and time if you call and, if you think that your call is not dealt with appropriately please contact us and we will refer it back to the MOD to investigate.

We suggest that apart from your name and address and date of birth, you have the following details to hand when you call: 

  • Your National Insurance Number
  • Your first husband’s name and date of birth
  • His National Insurance Number – if you have it 
  • His Service Number – if you have it.
  • The date of his death. 
  • The date you remarried.

But we repeat, if you have an issue with how your call is handled please email us at info@warwidows.org.uk.

27th July 2023: This update was originally posted in our members-only forum to try and answer all questions and comments, but we thought it might be useful if we made it more publicly available:
Members have started a number of threads on the Forum – all essentially focusing on the Campaign 300 and the issues arising from the MOD offer of a lump sum to those ladies who cannot have their War Widows’ Pension reinstated.  It is proving difficult to keep track of all of these and many are repeating earlier comments.   So I thought It might be helpful if I summarised the situation and the Association’s view of our progress.

Our wish has always been to have the pension reinstated.  But the reality is that we will not achieve this in a short time frame.  The MOD announced in May – somewhat unexpectedly – that they were making an offer of a one-off payment of £87,500, on the basis that £17,500 would be the income tax due, at the standard rate of 20%.  Thereby, intending to create a payment of £70,000.  They further stated that they intended to open the application process during the summer.

Firstly, it is not for the Association to accept or refuse this offer.  We could still continue to campaign for reinstatement of the pension– but with little likelihood of success.  Meanwhile we would be denying ladies access to much needed money.  We believe that the payment of this lump sum is almost certainly the best outcome we can achieve.

Whilst the media will report other groups being given large sums of money – tax free – these payments are (in law) compensation,  and are the result of governments breaking the law.  The money is being paid in lieu of long and costly court cases, that the government would almost certainly lose.  Unfortunately, we do not have the ‘law’ on our side – the surrender of the pension was not illegal, and thus we cannot be paid compensation.  We can only argue for government to behave honourably – but we cannot compel them to.

We have highlighted – most robustly – the failings of their mathematics in calculating the tax that will be due in reality, and the consequential disruption to ladies tax arrangements.  But again we cannot compel or force the government to change their plans.  We can only argue for fairness and complain at the misrepresentation of the original statement.

We have not stopped campaigning on these issues relating to the payment of the lump sum – but it is not possible (or indeed advisable) to reveal all the conversations we are having on the matter.

We have been asked for our input on the process of application and we are pressing for you to be allowed to at least ‘register your interest’ at the earliest opportunity.

In simple terms – if you previously received a War Widows’ Pension but surrendered it on remarriage or cohabitation, and that marriage or relationship has not ended you will be eligible to apply for this lump sum, no matter when you received a War Widows Pension.  If your marriage or relationship has ended – you should apply to have your pension reinstated.  This one-off payment is ONLY for those who cannot have their pension reinstated.

We believe that the Veterans UK will be able to confirm the previous payment of a War Widow’s Pension for most applicants, with only minimum information about you and your late husband.   However, if records cannot be found and more information is required we will standby to assist you as best we can in advising how you can provide the necessary evidence.  But we expect this to be only for the minority of applications.

Finally, as soon as we have new information that we can share with you – we will.

But I will close in reinforcing the reality that this is a campaign of persuasion – we have no power to force the government’s hand.  We cannot – to quote some comments – ‘make them’ do anything.

21st June 2023: Message from the Trustees of the WWA
We have received a few enquiries from ladies whose second partner has died and they are now alone again. They were unaware that they were entitled to have their war widows pension reinstated. They are asking if they are eligible for the ex-gratia payment. They are NOT eligible for this payment and if they have not had their War Widows’ Pension restored they should contact Veterans UK at Norcross immediately and explain their circumstances. Sadly their pension will  not be backdated but will be calculated from the day they inform the agency.

If you or anyone you know is in a similar situation to these ladies please contact Veterans UK on 0808 1914 218.


ALL UPDATES & NEWS

Published 11th November 2023 – Daily Express: Britain’s forgotten war widows say a government scheme to finally give them a special Recognition Payment is a total fiasco.

Published 17th October 2023: Recognition Payment Eligibility Concerns

Published 16th October 2023: Recognition payment applications now live!

Published 16th October 2023: Recognition Payment: Application Process Launch Announcement

Published 19th September 2023: Statement made by Victoria Atkins, The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Published 29th September 2023: Recognition Payment Claim Form: Veteran’s UK update

Published 19th September 2023: Statement made by Victoria Atkins, The Financial Secretary to the Treasury

Published 2nd July 2023: Article in the Sunday Telegraph – Make pension payout tax exempt, say war widows

Published 2nd June 2023: Report of a Meeting with MOD (members only access)

Published 30th May 2023: War Widows Recognition Payment Q&A

Published 26th May 2023: Campaign 300 update

Published 22nd May 2023: WWA Committee statement

Published 17th May 2023: Lump sum payment for war widows


We will continue to update this page when we receive information through official channels, in the meantime, these links might prove useful:

House of Commons Library: RESEARCH BRIEFING Published 16th June 2023: Deaths attributable to service before and after 6th April 2005

House of Commons Library: BRIEFING PAPER Number 568, 7 April 2021 War Widows’ Pensions

Forces Net: War Widows urge Government to reassess pension scheme

National Army Museum: Supporting the families of the fallen

Click here for the link to general information from the Government on War Widow(er) Pensions.

More Campaigns and Projects:

War Widows Connected

Due to the success of our War Widows InTouch project, we have been granted funding from the Veterans’ Foundation to run another mini version of the project along with continuing

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