MP Gloria De Piero writes in support of an inquiry into the miners’ pension fund

Gloria De Piero MP
Gloria De Piero MP

Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero has called for a government inquiry into the miners’ pension row.

The MP has released the following taken from an online blog she has written with Keith Stanley, Notts NUM Area President and a MPS pensioner.

“Imagine that you have worked hard your entire life, paid into your pension pot diligently and know that when the time comes, you will be able to afford a comfortable enough retirement.

That is what coalminers did for decades.

But it turns out that vast sums of money made from investing their pension contributions has been going straight into the Government’s coffers instead of into their own bank accounts.

According to information I have obtained this week via a written parliamentary question, the Government has received an incredible £3.4bn thanks to an unjust deal that was struck years ago.

It dates back to 1994 when British Coal was privatised and an arrangement was made between the Government and the trustees of the British Coal pension.

One of the key elements of this deal was that the Government would guarantee any pension fund earned up to this point so that the miners would always get the pension they were expecting.

In return, the pension schemes would be subject to periodic valuations and any surplus would be split 50-50 between scheme members and the Government.

Since that time, the Government has had to fulfil its role as guarantor on three occasions.

But the scheme has been in surplus more than it has not.

The deal goes too far in the Government’s favour and the Treasury is taking too much money from a fund that should be benefitting the 250,000 ex-miners or their dependents who paid into the scheme in the first place.

I want to see a review of the surplus sharing arrangement.

And I am not the first person to call for such a move.

The Coalfield Communities Campaign said back in 1999 that the 50 per cent share should be looked at again.

I am echoing this call.

I have raised this issue in the Commons and am awaiting confirmation of the date of the meeting I will be having with the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

At that meeting I will be asking for ministers to enter into negotiations with the trustees of the mineworkers’ pension schemes and representatives of miners’ unions.

In addition I have written to the chair of the energy select committee asking for an inquiry into the surplus sharing arrangement so that it can be publicly scrutinised and the injustice can be laid bare for all to see.

This Government says that it is on the side of ordinary people. It says that it is the party for workers.

But these words will ring hollow if it will not discuss this issue.

These miners powered our country for generations. They survived one of the most brutal strikes this country has ever seen. And they deserve the pension they worked their entire lives for and is rightfully theirs.”