It is several years now that I have been working to right the injustice of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS), writes Gloria De Piero MP.
The latest action that myself and the group of MPs who are campaigning for ex-miners and their widows to get a fairer share of the money made by MPS investments, has been to send a letter to the Chancellor.
This letter calls on the Government to look again at the surplus sharing arrangement which was agreed when the Government became the guarantor of the pension scheme in 1994.
Since then, the Treasury has taken 50 per cent of the profits made by the MPS pension investments, and this alone has totalled more than £3 billion, substan-tially more than was ever envisaged.
It has never had to pay into the scheme.
We are asking the Chancellor to enter negotiations about re-balancing the surplus sharing arrangement so that the pensioners benefit to a greater extent, and to protect bonuses that pensioners receive.
We understand that the trustees of the MPS, with whom we have been in frequent commun-ication on the MPS issue, have also been in communication with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) regarding long-term protection for bonuses.
We believe that the strong returns being generated by the scheme make the current 50-50 arrangement difficult to justify.
We are calling on the Government to include a stronger level of protection for members’ bonuses and to consider taking a reduced share of the surplus.
As I have discovered during my years working on the MPS, it is not as simple as it may look to renegotiate the MPS arrangements, with many interested parties all needing to have their say and financial experts to be consulted.
I hope that the Chancellor will take this opportunity to work with MPs, the trustees, the National Union of Mineworkers and colleagues in Government to make sure that former mineworkers, their families and communities receive their fair share of the cash.