A Government debate on the pension scheme of thousands of former mineworkers has been delayed.
The debate was due to take place at the House of Commons yesterday (Tuesday June 4) and mineworkers representatives who travelled down to London had to return with their journey wasted.
Campaigners say they have been ‘robbed’ of billions which has been siphoned off by successive governments following an agreement to underwrite the pension in the 1990s.
The the UK miners pension scheme, for justice & fair play association is campaigning to get the 50-50 split of pension surplus renegotiated.
Grahame Morris posting on the UK miners pension scheme, for justice & fair play association. said: “The Mineworkers Pension Debate today has been withdrawn on advice.
“After Justice Questions there were two Ministerial Statements and three Urgent Questions taking precedence, then the 10 Minute Rule Bill and a Government Bill on wild animals - so our debate would likely be squeezed to an hour if as expected Government business goes on till 8:30pm.
“That wouldn’t give MPs the chance to debate the issues properly nor leave time for the Government to respond to the points we wish to raise.
“I will advise as soon as it can be rescheduled.
“Many apologies to those miners who have travelled down to London for the debate.
Former Thoresby miner and campaigner Mick Newton said he understood the debate had been rescheduled for next Thursday (June 13)
He said: “We were told it was due to a lack of debating time and I think there is some truth in that as it was the first day back after recess and the order paper was full.
Our debate was well down the list on the agenda and that is quite disturbing as we feel it has a lot more urgency than it was given.
“Hopefully when it comes back to the Commons we have requested it take a higher preference on the order paper, so it will be given ample time to be properly discussed and receive a vote.
As far as our campaign is concerned time is running out . We will sadly lose another 200 pensioners next week due to illness. We really do feel there is a need for urgency and we need a speedy resolution for this.
“It has been three years since we started this campaign.
“We have written to the Chancellor, 72 MPs have signed an early day motion and we have a paper petition of over 100,000 signatures in support.
“We feel it merits far greater importance and urgency for a proper debate , discussion and an outcome to benefit our mineworkers and widows.
We would urge our local MPs to attend that debate and contribute on behalf of thousands of their constituents that worked in the coal industry.
“This is a major national case and the coalfield communities are watching and waiting.
“We feel they are duty bound to do that and we now know when the deal was struck in 1994 although actuarial advice was available, That wasn’t given to the mineworkers pension trustees and in my opinion they voted in the dark.
The Government in our opinion failed on two counts - to offer due diligence and in their fiduciary responsibility.
Both these actions have legal ramifications. Lets hope that Parliament and Government can see sense and grant us the outcome we deserve.”