Former mineworkers calling for a fairer split of their pension scheme saw a Government debate end with a rejection of their claims by the Treasury.
Campaigners say they have been “robbed” of billions of pounds which has been siphoned off by successive governments following an agreement to underwrite the pension scheme 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 and recently handed in a petition of 100,000 names to Downing Street.
MPs from former mining areas from both sides of the House spoke in favour of the renegotiation of the 50-50 split at the debate on Monday (June 10)
These included Ashfield MP Gloria de Piero, Mansfield MP Ben Bradley and Doncaster MP Ed Miliband.
But closing the debate Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) Andrew Stephenson said:
“In this case, the honest answer is that the current position, whereby the Government guarantee arrangements and split the surpluses, is a fair settlement. It is reflected in the fact that successive Governments of all political persuasions have retained the split currently in place.”
Former Thoresby miner and campaigner Mick Newton said: “We are very disappointed - I thought it was an excellent debate and every MP put forward out convincing case.
“It goes to show that everybody voted in favour of a review and the Treasury in its complete arrogance denied us.
“It made parliamentary democracy look like a sham.
“We will continue to fight and I am sure MPs will continue to fight the case.”
He said campaigners were considering working to get a Select Committee Inquiry into their case and were thinking about a judicial review.
During the debate Andrew Stephenson said: “have reviewed the trustees’ proposals, which my officials have been considering for some time, and I wrote to Her Majesty’s Treasury last week giving them my full support. I will be meeting the chair of the trustees, Chris Cheetham, on 24 June. Central to the trustees’ proposals is protecting existing bonuses. Under that option, if there is a deficit in the future, members will still see their guaranteed pensions continue to rise in line with RPI, and their current bonuses will not be eroded.”
He said the trustees felt that protecting existing bonuses earned is more important than a review of the 50:50 split at this time.
Mick Newton said:”If the trustees are happy with the pension deal as it stands, In my opinion we are being grossly misrepresented . How can they turn a blind eye to 100,000 names.”