Angry ex-miners from Mansfield who say they have been “robbed” of half their pension fund claim they have had it confirmed “in black and white” by the Treasury.
Former miners around the UK say it is a great injustice that their pension fund, worth billions of pounds, has been “siphoned off” by successive governments.
In the latest development, the campaigners say a Freedom of Information request to the Government has proved their case.
Former Thoresby miner Mick Newton said: “We put a Freedom of Information request to the Government asking how much money the Government put in as a guarantee to the Mineworkers’ Pension fund since 1997 and they admitted they haven’t put any in. We have it in black and white from the Treasury .
The answer to the group’s FoI request says: “ Over the period 1997 to 2015, there have not been any payments from HM Government as a result of the guarantee of the benefits on the Mineworkers Pension Scheme. Therefore, during this period the guarantee has not directly ‘cost’ the government anything.”
Under a deal made in the 1990s, the government agreed to underwrite the pension, but in return take a huge chunk of the surplus each year.
The UK Mineworkers Pension Association for justice and Fair Play Association is campaigning to get the 50/50 split of mineworkers’ pension surplus renegotiated.
Mr Newton said the Treasury had taken £9bn in total from the scheme, adding: “They said it was in our best interest for the pension to be ring-fenced.
“The real motive was to take our surplus.”
A Government spokesman said: “The Government has given considerable financial support to the mining industry to date.
“The percentage of the excess pension pot that goes to Government is considered reasonable recompense for the past taxpayer investment in the scheme when the industry went through a period of public ownership.”