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My hon. Friend is absolutely right: it is totally unfair. That is why I ask the Minister to dispel the concerns that I briefly touched on earlier and protect the bonus element of the members’ pensions, which will prevent real-terms losses to pension value in times of poor investment return. Most importantly, is she prepared to amend the surplus sharing scheme and meet the coalfield MPs, the scheme trustees, members and the National Union of Mineworkers to discuss a revision, including consideration of the recent NUM-commissioned report that suggested a 90:10 split in favour of the miners?
Miners and their families in this country had their way of life ripped apart. They were branded “the enemy within”. Men were imprisoned because they were fighting for their jobs. Women ran soup kitchens because they were fighting for their community. Spirits were bruised but never broken. Tragically, too often our miners were let down. The unfairness of the scheme must not—cannot—be allowed to stand as the final chapter in that dismal history. Retired miners have waited long enough for the only thing they ever wanted: their fair share.