Today, Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey has called on Boris Johnson to extend benefits for bereaved families to the children of a cohabiting couple when a parent dies, after the High Court ruled that the current law breaches those children’s human rights.
Ed Davey congratulated campaigners on their victory, in which Mr Justice Holman ruled that it was a breach of the Human Rights Act that the higher rate of Bereavement Support Payment is paid to families with children when a spouse or civil partner dies, but not to the children of a surviving cohabiting parent.
It follows a similar ruling by the Supreme Court in 2018 which ruled that Widowed Parent’s Allowance was in breach of the Human Rights Act for the same reason - a ruling the Government have to date failed to implement.
Ed Davey - a long time campaigner for bereaved families - called on the Government to make bereavement benefits available immediately to the bereaved children from a cohabiting relationship, and extend support for all bereaved families from 18 months to six years.
Acting Leader of the Liberal Democrats Ed Davey said:
“Children who have already suffered the tragedy of losing a parent should not suffer a second time just because their parents were not married.
“So I am delighted the courts have again ruled that the Government was wrong to refuse this support to these children. It is time that the Prime Minister abided by the rule of law, and ensured that these bereaved families are properly cared for.
“I want to congratulate all the campaigners who have worked so hard to get this ruling.
“Liberal Democrats will fight to change the law and defend the human rights of these children despite this Conservative Prime Minister’s obvious disrespect for the rule of law, judicial review and human rights.
“Liberal Democrats will also fight to extend Bereavement Support Payment from the current miserly 18 months to six years, so that children and families get the support they need as they recover from the tragedy of losing a partner and a parent.”