I recently met with senior figures from the National Union of Mineworkers and fellow Labour MPs to plan the next steps in our fight for a better pension for ex-miners and their widows, writes Gloria De Piero.
Readers of this column will know that we have been campaigning for a fairer pension for ex-miners for several years now. It’s a long and complicated business, but my key strategy is to work with the different interested parties – including the NUM and the trustees of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS) — to find consensus that we can use to convince the government that it has to give a bigger slice of the pension-pot pie to those hardworking miners who paid into it.
At this latest meeting there were discussions on what progress we have made to date and how momentum can be maintained.
We spoke about what steps can be taken to strengthen the case for a fairer split in the scheme’s surplus-sharing arrangement, which is currently 50/50 between the Government and pensioners.
It was a positive meeting with some good ideas put forward on how we can put pressure on to look again at the arrangements with a view to renegotiating them.
I have another meeting with the trustees scheduled for next month and we are awaiting replies from Government departments to letters that we have written on the issue.
I know how vitally important the MPS is to thousands of people in Ashfield and across former coalfield areas up and down the country.
n I was saddened to receive the news that yet another bank in Ashfield is set to be shut down – this time, the Yorkshire Bank in Sutton.
It is the latest in a growing number of closures after Natwest and Barclays banks have closed in both Eastwood and Kirkby in recent years.
Of course some of these decisions are being taken due to dwindling customer numbers as people move to online banking.
But the effect is that residents who do not use the internet have to travel further away to use a bank in person. It is a worrying picture for our communities and the amenities available.