Mansfield mayor slams Government over its stance on fairer pensions deal for former mineworkers
Mansfield mayor Andy Abrahams has condemned the Government’s decision not to offer a fairer pensions deal for former mineworkers.
An enquiry from Parliament’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee concluded that the Government should hand back billions to former mineworkers and their widows after already plundering £4.4bn from the pensions pot.
The ‘take it or leave it’ deal was imposed in 1994 when the mining industry was privatised – with the Government securing 50 per cent of all profits from the pension pot, without ever putting in a penny.
But last month, the Government said that it was not willing to hand over the cash and would continue taking half of all surplus on the fund – leaving many former mineworkers in Mansfield and Ashfield on the breadline.
A meeting of Mansfield District Council’s full council endorsed the call to increase the average pension from £84 by a further £14, but the Government subsequently rejected the call and a letter was sent to Rishi Sunak MP and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Commenting on the development, Mayor Abrahams said: “What is the point of setting up an Independent All Party Committee made up of six Conservative, four Labour and one SNP MP only to totally ignore their recommendations?
“Years of lobbying by ex-miners Charles Chiverton and Michael Newton, which led to a 100,000 signature petition being handed into Downing Street and the pension injustice being debated in parliament in early 2019, which led to the independent committee being set up, has been a complete waste of time and money.
"It is absolutely disgraceful that the Government has taken £4bn of the miner’s money out of the scheme that they have never paid a penny into.
"It appears they are waiting for the ever decreasing number of miners to ‘die off’ so the Government get to keep the entire pension fund.
"Mansfield will be joining forces with Ashfield and Newark to put motions for county-wide support, which we hope will be endorsed by Ben Bradley as leader of the county council and Mansfield’s MP.
"This is the time for the Government to finally put right their wrong and give our retired miners and their widows the financial security to live out their remaining life with dignity.”