act on miners’ pensions

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At the last full council meeting I proposed a motion on behalf of the Independent Coalition regarding the mineworkers’ pension scheme (MPS) fund surpluses.

When British Coal was privatised in 1994 the MPS and the associated trade unions expressed concerns the fund would not be safe in private hands and sought an agreement with the then UK government.

The agreement guaranteed all MPS members full pension benefits, should the scheme run into deficit, in return the Treasury would receive 50 per cent of any fund surpluses generated by the scheme’s investments. MPS has managed its investments well and only fallen into deficit on three occasions, none of which required the government’s financial intervention. MPS membership has fallen by half to 200,000 currently, resulting in a much smaller financial commitment and therefore larger fund surpluses, to date the Treasury has received £3-4billion.

The motion asked the government to refer this arrangement between themselves and the MPS for independent scrutiny by the Public Accounts Committee with a view to determining the agreement’s current appropriateness and fairness.

Any decision to reduce the amount the Treasury receives from the MPS could result in an increase of member benefits in the future. The motion was carried unanimously across the chamber.

You may have read recently that the owner of a Mansfield food store had been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling more than £4,400 for not removing out of date food items from shelves.

Mansfield District Council will always react to reports of this nature and work with the retailer to remedy the situation. If the advice is not acted upon the council will not hesitate in taking legal action to safeguard public health and safety. If you suspect a premises is in breach of food safety laws report it online at www.mansfield.gov.uk/reportonline.

May I wish you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year.