Civil partnership change warning over pensions

Changes to legislation on civil partnerships could have a huge impact on pension funds, adding billions of pounds to their liabilities, a study by Royal London and pension consultants Lane Clark & Peacock has concluded. A private member's bill by Tim Loughton MP is currently seeking to enable opposite-sex couples to have civil partnerships as well as getting married. 

Director of Policy at Royal London Steve Webb said: "Cohabiting couples currently miss out on a wide range of tax breaks, social security benefits and pension rights that married couples currently enjoy. Allowing such couples to register a civil partnership recognises changes in society, with cohabitation rates having doubled in the last twenty years." 

Civil partnerships were introduced in 2004 for same-sex couples, but the introduction of same-sex marriage in 2013 has left an anomalous situation where two kinds of same-sex partnership options exist but only one for opposite-sex couples. An alternative step may be to abolish civil partnerships.