The government must stop lining its pockets from the pensions of poverty-stricken miners, says Lesley Laird MP.
The MP for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath attended a debate in the House of Commons sparked after more than 100,000 people signed a petition about the Mineworkers Pension Scheme surplus sharing arrangements.
She said: “Since 1994 the Government has pocketed an astonishing £4.4 billion from the Mineworkers’ Pension scheme yet hasn’t contributed a single penny to the pot in all those years.
“The Government talks about risks and liabilities yet manoeuvred a deal which guaranteed them 50 per cent rights on all future pension surpluses. It’s been nothing but win/win for them since day one.
“What about the poverty risk to miners who draw a pension of just £84 a week? Significantly less for miners’ widows?”
Proposals being put forward by the pension fund’s trustees are due to be considered on June 24 but do not include a review on the 50-50 split arrangement.
Lesley Laird, who has called for a review of the MPS since 2017, said the “government had had its money’s worth” from thousands of miners, many of whom were dying early as a result of mine working conditions.
“The number of miners claiming from the fund is rapidly dwindling,” said Lesley. “Over the past eight years there’s been a drop of 40,000; nearly 23 per cent.
“This pension fund was created for the benefit of miners and their families – not to line the pockets of government – and if there’s to be any justice at all, that 50/50 arrangement must be scrapped now.”