Labour MP for Caerphilly, Wayne David, has once again written to the UK Government demanding a change to the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme. This scheme continues to disadvantage the miners and communities it was intended to benefit.
Set up in 1994, the scheme created a sharing agreement whereby the UK Government would claim 50% of any surplus from miners’ pensions. In return, the UK Government would be a guarantor for the scheme. Having received over £4.4 billion to date without having contributed a penny, the UK Government directly profits from miners’ pensions through the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme.
Many miners average a pension of £84 a week, with some explaining that they struggle to pay for their electricity and food on this income. It is also common for former miners to struggle with health conditions as a result of their previous dangerous work.
Wayne David said “With the coal mines in much of the Rhymney Valley closing much later than many others, there are a relatively large group of miners in the area who are still losing out. It is quite wrong that the Government is creaming off these large sums of money when there are retired miners who really need this to buy their food and pay their rent. I will go on fighting this injustice until this wrong is put right”.
Earlier this year, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee published a cross-party report which outlined recommendations for the UK Government that would help to fix the broken scheme.
The two key recommendations were that the surplus arrangement should be changed to give more to pensioners in the future, and that the £1.2 billion reserve fund be given back to pensioners immediately. This would provide an immediate increase in the pension of former miners that would help them deal with rising gas and petrol prices as well as the aftermath of the pandemic.
Wayne David signed a letter to the UK Government earlier this year calling on them to act on the Select Committee’s report. However, since their initial letter, no action has been forthcoming from Conservative Ministers. This is why Wayne David and other MPs have again written to Boris Johnson calling on the UK Government to bring justice to former mineworkers and coalfield communities across the country.