"Daylight robbery" as government takes more than £4bn from the miners' pension scheme, writes Gloria De Piero MP
Ms De Piero is backing a campaign to get ex-miners and widows the pension they deserve
She writes: I have been campaigning for a fairer pension deal for ex-miners for a long time now and the reason why this issue is so important to me was highlighted again over the summer.
These miners worked hard to dig for the coal needed to keep the lights on in our homes, but many have a very meagre pension to show for their efforts.
That is why the news that the government is set to pocket another BILLION pounds from the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS) is tough to take.
The newly-published results of the 2017 valuation of the MPS show that the fund has made a £1.2bn surplus.
MPS pensioners are due to get bonuses worth 4.2 per cent of their pensions for each of the next six years as a result, which I am sure is not an unwelcome boost to their bank balances.
That is until you hear that the Government – which is the scheme’s guarantor and receives 50 per cent of all surpluses made – is due to receive £600m over the next 10 years.
Plus it is getting an immediate payment of £475m from the scheme’s investment reserve fund.
This brings the total the Government has made from the MPS to around an eye-watering £4.5bn – while it has NEVER paid a single penny into the scheme.
It seems like daylight robbery to many.
While many MPS pensioners struggle to get by, the Government is profiting to the tune of billions of pounds from the investments of miners’ pension contributions.
This is quite simply, grossly unfair, and it really is time the government did the decent thing and started talks to renegotiate the surplus sharing arrangement.
I, along with Labour colleagues from other former coalfield areas, officials from the National Union of Mineworkers and the Trustees of the MPS, have met to discuss alternative pension arrangements, which would see ex-miners benefitting from better pensions.
Pension experts representing the NUM and trustees are continuing their work on this matter before MPs will present the agreed position to the Treasury for consideration.
I can assure every ex-miner and widows who receive their late husband’s pension, we will continue our fight to get them the pension they deserve.