Labour manifesto pledges to shift Mineworkers' Pension Scheme 90% in miners' favour

Miners in Mansfield and Ashfield who have signed up to the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme will see their returns weighted 90 per cent in their favour, under new Labour proposals.

The Labour Party revealed in its favour that it plans to ensure former mineworkers and their families receive the fund they are "owed" after years of government "interference" in the pension scheme.

Area Secretary of the NUM Nottingham Area, Cllr Sonya Ward, Mansfields Labour Parliamentary Candidate, and Eric Eaton, Chair of the Nottingham NUM Ex and Retired Miners Association.

Area Secretary of the NUM Nottingham Area, Cllr Sonya Ward, Mansfields Labour Parliamentary Candidate, and Eric Eaton, Chair of the Nottingham NUM Ex and Retired Miners Association.

In 1994 when the coal industry was privatised, in return for a guarantee of the basic pension, surpluses were to be divided 50-50 between the fund and the government.

However, the £12 billion fund has performed so successfully that the UK government has, in 24 years, taken out an estimated £4.5 billion pounds in surpluses, £526 million pounds in 2018 alone.

Campaigners in the NUM and the Mineworkers Pension Campaign had called for the government to pay back funds that had been taken from the scheme, including the huge sum last year.

Councillor Sonya Ward, Labour's parliamentary candidate, has praised the proposals and says it is "very welcome news" for the town's ex-miners.

She said: “I’m delighted by this news. This is a major commitment which honours the debt our country owes to thousands of former miners.

"It's an injustice that so much has been taken out by the government with not a penny being put in.

"As someone who lives in Mansfield, an ex mining community, and who comes from a coal mining family, this is very welcome news.

"In future, under a Labour government, 90 per cent of all future surpluses will go into boosting miners pension benefits whilst retaining the government guarantee.”

Mick Newton has been leading the drive for a fairer share of the fund as part of the Mineworkers Pension Campaign, successfully getting more than 100,000 signatures on a petition calling for government action.

He welcomed the proposals, and said: "It is fantastic news that a major political party like Labour have listened to our campaign and recognises this pension injustice.

"We launched the campaign and it received great support, with 100,000 names on the petition, and that has gone a long way to raising the profile of the mineworkers' pension scandal.

"What the Labour Party has done is a giant leap forward, but we now need to put pressure on the other parties and local candidates in the election to put forward similar proposals.

"News like this vindicates all the hard work we have put in to getting this rebalance, and we thank all the former mineworkers and their widows for their support of the campaign."

Alan Spencer, area secretary of the NUM Nottingham Area, based in Mansfield, added: "The pits may have closed but the legacy of the mining industry remains.

"As a Union we have campaigned hard to reform the fund for the benefit of those retired miners and their widows.

"I am really pleased that our meetings with Labour members of parliament have proved successful. I welcome this tremendous news for thousands of our retired members."