It is a great privilege to speak in this debate. I want to congratulate my hon. Friend Grahame Morris, who is almost my constituency neighbour, on introducing this debate. In Bishop Auckland, I obviously represent hundreds if not thousands of former Durham miners who are affected by this injustice. As other hon. Members have said, mineworkers did difficult and dangerous work. They built the wealth of this country for over 150 years, and we owe them a huge debt.
One of the things in the Chief Secretary’s letter that really jumped out at me was her claim that the scheme works for beneficiaries. It patently does not work for beneficiaries. She says that the guarantee of value for individuals is that there should be no reduction in cash terms in the overall value of the mineworkers’ pension. What that means is that people can and, in fact, do see reductions in the real values of these pensions. This is deeply unfair. The Treasury has had £4,438 million from the surpluses of the scheme.