On 15 March, we heard the devastating news that MPs voted by 292 votes to 236 to accept the changes to Bereavement Support Payments that WAY members have been fighting so hard against over the past few months and years alongside the Childhood Bereavement Network.
We are truly devastated and wanted to thank each and every one of you who has written to MPs, shared your stories with the media, written blogs and visited their MPs. We are so sorry that so many of them chose not to listen to our concerns...
We are going to continue to fight this so please, please write to your MPs to share your views:
Here is WAY Chairman Georgia Elms' press statement:
"We are absolutely devastated that the government is forging ahead with these changes to bereavement support payments, totally disregarding the advice of bereavement organisations like WAY Widowed and Young. The government has claimed that this system will be fairer – but there is nothing fair about taking money away from bereaved families who are already suffering so much.
Many newly widowed parents stand to lose thousands of pounds under the new system, which will see bereavement payments for new claimants stop after 18 months rather than continuing for up to 20 years. These payments are made based on your late spouse’s National Insurance contributions – it is, in effect, the pension they never got to claim.
Our members and supporters have written more than 4,000 letters to MPs over the last few weeks to protest against these utterly callous cuts. The government simply has not listened. And the most heartbreaking thing is that these changes will affect a group of people who might not even realise they may one day need this vital support – future generations of bereaved families.
The government also claims that these changes have modernised the system. So why have they failed to recognise that bereavement payments should also be extended to widowed parents who weren’t married or in a civil partnership when their partner died? How is that a system that’s fit for the 21st century?"
Georgia Elms, Chairman, WAY