Tories forced to safeguard miners’ pensions after decades of government theft

Greedy Tories have been shamed into safeguarding bonuses for retired miners – but it will not give 150,000 ex-pitmen and their families one extra penny.

Governments have been stealing ex-miners’ pensions for 25 years, lining Treasury coffers with a £4.4billion sum.

It has left some widows getting as little as £8.50, with ex-miner payouts averaging £84 a week.

The scandal dates from 1994 when British Coal was privatised and any pension-fund surpluses were split 50-50 between the Treasury and members.

Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng says the Government will make up any shortfall if the fund goes in to deficit


But though the basic pension was guaranteed, bonuses from fund surpluses which make up a third of it were not.

The fund then did much better than expected and handed the Treasury a huge windfall, worth another £427million over the next two years.

Now Energy Minister Kwasi Kwarteng says the Government will make up any bonus shortfall if the fund ever goes into deficit.

But that change does not deliver any extra money to the pensioners.

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MPs have proposed a fairer split in future so ex-miners get 90 per cent of any profits and the Government ten per cent.

Labour MP Nick Smith said: “This is a good first step, but much more needs to be done.”

And Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: “We are just asking the Government to get their hands out of the pockets of former miners.”


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