Gay couples will get pension benefits in contracted-out schemes and the right to pass on survivor pensions following amendments to the Civil Partnership Bill.
The changes mean Comps will be required to provide survivor pensions for civil partners from rights accrued back to 1988. This is designed to replicate the position for widowers who gained survivor benefits in 1988.
The amendments were introduced by DTI minister Jacqui Smith at the report stage of the bill and announced at committee stage. It is expected to be passed by the end of the year.
To be eligible, same-sex couples will have to register as a civil partnership with a civil partnership registrar authorised by the registrar general.
Work and Pensions Secretary Alan Johnson says: “The Civil Partnership Bill is all about equality. This has important practical applications. Often, a pension will be the most valuable asset that an individual has, so their ability to pass it on is crucial.”