MPs urge Government to fix ‘historic injustice’ in mineworkers’ pension scheme
The Government is being urged to tackle an “historic injustice” in the pension scheme of mineworkers and transfer £1.2bn to the fund.
The move would give a £14 increase to the average weekly pension of £84, according to MPs.
The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee said, given the “vast sums” paid from the scheme to the Government, it was “unconscionable” that many former miners were struggling to make ends meet.
The committee said that since privatisation of the scheme in 1994, the Government has received 50 per cent of surpluses in its value, in return for providing a guarantee that the value of pensions will not decrease.
At the time it was expected that the Government would receive around £4bn from the arrangement in today’s money, but that has increased to £4.4bn, and the Government is also due to receive at least another £1.9bn on top of 50 per cent off any future surpluses, said the report.
The Government has not paid any funds into the scheme in return, noted the MPs.
“The Government’s entitlement to 50 per cent of surpluses is not proportionate to the degree of financial risk it actually faces,” said the report.
Committee chairman Darren Jones said: “The Government has benefited from billions of pounds of surpluses since 1994 without having to contribute a pound of taxpayers’ money to miners’ pensions. Mining communities have suffered from pit closures for generations, with many pensioners now living on low incomes.”
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