Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 9:14 pm on 10th June 2019.

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Photo of Jonathan Edwards Jonathan Edwards Shadow PC Spokesperson (Treasury), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Foreign Intervention), Shadow PC Spokesperson (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) 9:14 pm, 10th June 2019

My hon. Friend makes a vital point. I suppose my question for the British Government this evening is this. If they are so confident of their case, what do they have to lose by agreeing to an independent review?

The 50:50 surplus arrangement has served the British Government extremely well. As we have heard, it was negotiated during the privatisation of the industry in 1994 by the then Conservative UK Government. There was a review by the Labour Government in 2003, but they decided against any adjustments. The Treasury argued that the guarantee arrangement enables the trustees of the scheme to authorise riskier investment strategies, enabling greater returns for the mineworkers’ pension scheme which are then passed on to pensioners, as well as, of course, to the Treasury. Nobody is disputing the importance of the guarantee or the logic of that argument. The question at hand is whether the British Government should be receiving such enormous sums for their role as the guarantor. Considering the secure nature of the MPS, it seems clear to me that the British Government cannot justify their current claim on the generated surpluses.

I have to tell those on the Treasury Front Bench that the general feeling out there in mining communities is that this is the latest in a long line of injustices perpetrated by the British Government on the miners, their families and the coalfield communities. About 22,000 people in Wales are affected by this scandal. I was so proud to present the petition calling for an urgent review to Downing Street in March. If the Minister values the hard work of the miners who endured in terrible conditions and their invaluable role in shaping the coalfield communities we live in today, and considering the length of time since the last review, the British Government should accept the motion.