MP steps up bid to end ‘injustice’ of miners’ pension payouts

Gloria De Piero  Ashfield MP
Gloria De Piero Ashfield MP

A campaign to ensure that former miners and their widows get a fairer slice of their pension money has been stepped up by Ashfield’s MP, Gloria De Piero.

She has called for a Parliamentary debate on what she brands “the injustice” of the current arrangements for the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS).

When the government became the guarantor of the MPS, a deal was put in place that meant the surplus made by the scheme’s financial investments would be split 50/50 between the government and scheme members.

But over the years, says Ms De Piero, the government has cashed in as much as £10 billion while many ex-pitmen and their widows have struggled to make ends meet.

“I have been campaigning to get this arrangement reviewed,” said the MP, who has just been welcomed back on to Labour’s shadow frontbench by the party’s leader, Jeremy Corbyn.

“I have spoken time and again about how unfair it is that the government has made billions of pounds from the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme when so many ex-miners and widows struggle to get by on a meagre pension.

“It is time the surplus-sharing arrangement was reviewed, and securing a Parliamentary debate on this would highlight the need again.”

Ms De Piero, who retained her Ashfield seat at last month’s General Election with a much-increased majority, has now written to the Leader of the House of Commons, Andrea Leadsom, asking for the debate.

“I believe this issue needs to be revisited by Parliament, and alternative scheme arrangements looked into,” she writes.

Ms De Piero is also in talks with the trustees of the MPS to fix a date for a meeting with them and other Labour coalfield MPs to discuss the controversy.