Ex miners call on MPs to support claims for pension justice

Miners pension campaigners have called for MPs to support their claims for a fairer pension deal.

Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 6:52 pm
Updated Tuesday, 1st May 2018, 6:56 pm
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero and Labour MPs from other ex-coalfield constituencies met with the chiefs of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) to discuss proposals for a better pension deal for ex-miners.

This week Labour MPs met pension experts and union chiefs to come up with fresh proposals to improve their pension arrangements.

Gloria De Piero, Ashfield MP, joined fellow Labour MPs from other ex-coalfield constituencies to meet the chiefs of the National Union of Mineworkers at Westminster.

Pension experts from First Actuarial presented a report on the Mineworkers Pension Scheme, commissioned by the NUM.

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Ms De Piero who is spearheading the campaign to see ex-miners and their widows get a fairer pension, chaired the meeting, which was also attended by MPs Dennis Skinner, Nick Smith, Ian Lavery and Grahame Morris.

The report put forward several alternative surplus sharing arrangements for the scheme, which would see members receive improved pensions, while still remaining attractive to the government as scheme guarantor.

The current arrangement sees the government and pensioners share any profits made by pension investments on a 50/50 split – the Treasury has banked £3.4 billion from this arrangement since 1994, without ever having to pay in a penny as guarantor.

he MP said: “The report presented at the meeting is the first time that we have had actual figures and forecasts to discuss and I thank the NUM and First Actuarial for their work on this.

“We had a very positive discussion and have taken another important step forward in our fight to win a fairer pension for ex-miners and their widows.”

Labour MPs, the NUM and the trustees of the scheme say they are all committed to renegotiating the terms of the MPS pension agreement.

Further meetings between MPs and both the trustees and government ministers will be arranged in the coming months.

Former Mansfield miner Mick Newton, of the UK Mineworkers Pension Association said: “It is great news – at long last we are starting to see movement due to the groundswell of public opinion on this issue.

“Finally we have it in writing what we have been saying all along, that the deal is good for the Government and not for mineworkers and their families.

“I urge all local MPs to sign the Early Day Motion calling for a review.”

Ben Bradley, Conservative MP for Mansfield, said: “I’ve been pushing Government on this same issue and trying to get a meeting for trustees of the scheme direct with ministers, having spoken in Parliament earlier this year calling on Government to look again at the way profits from the scheme are shared.

“All local MPs are working on this issue and supporting former coalminers.”

A spokesman for Mark Spencer, Conservative MP for Sherwood, said: “Mr Spencer took the decision in 2010 not to sign any Early Day Motions.

“Each EDM comes at significant cost to the taxpayer and there are better ways to affect legislation.”