Labour would put money back into the pockets of retired miners and their families and put a stop to the raid on their pension pot
The Labour Party is standing up for retired miners who have seen £4.4 billion taken out of their pockets by government.
The Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme has around 152,000 members. The current average pension for former miners in the Scheme is just £84 a week, and over half of Scheme members receive less than the average pension.
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.
Labour is calling on the Government to:
- Immediately return the £1.2bn reserve fund to pensioners.
- Change 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.
Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband said:
“It’s wrong and scandalous that the Conservative government set up an arrangement which was a totally unjustified raid on miners’ pensions. It is high time that the government acted to right this historic wrong.
“Labour would do the right thing and ensure miners get the pensions to which they are entitled, including returning £1.2bn which would make a difference to retired miners and their families.
“Labour is fighting for justice for retired miners and their families. Returning this money to those who rightly deserve it is the right and just thing to do. We demand the government acts.”
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.’