LLANELLI’s MP Nia Griffith is fighting for a fairer pension deal for former miners. She and other Labour MPs from former coalfield areas pledged their support for a review of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme at a meeting they organised with the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) last week.
Ms Griffith explained, “Former miners are receiving just £84 a week on average, while the UK Government has raked in over £4 billion from their pension scheme over 25 years – without putting a penny in. This is clearly unfair, leaving former miners short-changed for the contributions they have made.
“We as Labour coalfield MPs facilitated a meeting for NUM reps with our Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell to discuss the urgent need for a much fairer pension arrangement for former miners. The NUM has long called for a review of the scheme’s surplus-sharing arrangements, so I am delighted that the Shadow Chancellor has agreed to include this in Labour’s next manifesto.
“The Government has done far better out of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme than anyone thought at the time it was agreed in 1994. It is only right that the scheme is changed to reflect this fact so that the former miners get fair returns for their money in bonuses when their pension fund performs well.
“It is vital that this change is made urgently so that as many people can benefit from it as possible. It is shameful that the Conservative Government is doing nothing to help former miners when they have been making so much money from their pension scheme.
“I will keep working with the NUM and my Labour colleagues to get former miners living in the Llanelli constituency and around the country the fairer pension deal they deserve.”
The Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS) supports 152,000 former miners and their families. Since 1994, it has been covered by a government guarantee which protects all pensions earned up until privatisation in cash terms should the MPS enter serious financial difficulties. In return, the UK Government receives 50% of any surpluses generated by the scheme, with the remaining 50% going to scheme members in the form of pension bonuses.
The UK Government has received £4.4 billion from the MPS over 25 years despite making no direct payments into it. This amount is far higher than was originally projected. The NUM, Labour, and others are campaigning for a review of the scheme to achieve a fairer distribution of surpluses between former miners and government.