Retired miners have seen billions of pounds taken out of their pockets by government, while over half of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme’s 152,000 members currently receive less than £84 a week.
The Government has already received over £4.4 billion from the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme as a result of the arrangement set up in 1994, which gives 50% of any surplus to the Government, and according to the BEIS Select Committee is due to receive almost £2 billion more including £1.2bn from the Investment Reserve Fund.
Last week Mr Evans joined colleagues from across the Labour Party in letter to the Prime Minister calling for him to ensure;
· Immediate return the £1.2bn reserve fund to pensioners.
· Changes to the surplus sharing agreement to give more to pensioners.
According to estimates by the National Union of Mineworkers, returning the £1.2bn to members of the scheme would equate to £14 per week uplift for members on the average pension of £84 per week, or £728 a year.
During the 2019 general election campaign, when asked about the mineworkers’ pension scheme, Boris Johnson said “We will make sure that all their cash is fully protected and returned. I have looked into it and we will ensure that’s done.”
He has failed to keep that promise.
The BEIS Select Committee recently reported on this issue and found that the Government failed to conduct due diligence during the 1994 negotiations, and was negligent by not taking actuarial advice. There was no analysis or evaluation to inform or support the 50:50 split.
Chris Evans MP said:
“Too many retired Miners and their widows in Wales are living with the failure of the Government to fix the issues with the Mine Workers Pension scheme’
‘The Government can not be allowed to continue to raid Miners pensions pots. Time is running out and immediate changes is needed to give Miners the pensions they deserve’
Chris Kitchen, Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers stated:
“The theft of miners pensions has been a grave injustice.
“These are not the Government’s funds. These are miner’s pension contributions which have been taken from them.
“I am pleased that Labour has today committed to writing this historic wrong and giving a real immediate financial uplift to former miners and their families all across the country.
“The Government must now step up, as Labour have done, and follow through on their promise to end this injustice.”
Ex-miner Inky Thomson said:
“The Government has taken billions of pounds out of the pension scheme that should be there for the people who have contributed to it and their widows.
“And now this Government want to take billions more.
“This needs to be brought to an end. It is the least we deserve.”