Pressure mounts for law change 18 months from Supreme Court Judgement

Laura Banks

09 March 2020

An open letter to the Prime Minister has been signed by 18 organisations urging immediate law reform on the eligibility of cohabiting parents for bereavement benefits. 

It was sent 18 months after our client Siobhan McLaughlin won her case for Widowed Parent’s Allowance in the Supreme Court.  18 organisations came together to write the letter urging change to the rules that deny bereavement benefits to unmarried, cohabiting parents and their children. It points out that for each and every day that the government ignores this judgement, a further 5 families throughout the UK lose out on vital support.  A petition on the issue reached over 100,000 signatures. 

Francis Hanna & Co client, Siobhan McLaughlin was interviewed on BBC Victoria Derbyshire Live on 3rd March. She told that viewers that “absolutely nothing” has changed since she won her case as she has “yet to receive a penny” in the allowance which the Supreme Court said she was entitled to. Siobhan was joined on the show by 2 other widowed parents who found themselves ineligible for support and so faced the devastating double blow of losing their life partner in tragic circumstances as well as losing out on financial support for their young families. Stella Creasey MP who was also interviewed, said she was “disgusted at how this government treats widows” and pointing out that the legislation is from the 1950s.

Francis Hanna & Co Solicitor Laura Banks said “It is deplorable that we have a government who continue to knowingly discriminate against children, 18 months after a Supreme Court Judgement declared this treatment unlawful. The lack of progress here is shameful, especially when we can consider that it is bereaved children who are suffering.”   

For any Bereavement Benefit or Social Justice issue, please contact Laura Banks on 02890234901.