I beg to move,
That this House
calls on the Government to carry out a review of the existing arrangements for the sharing of the surplus generated by the Mineworkers’
I thank the Backbench Business Committee, under the excellent stewardship of my good and hon. Friend Ian Mearns, for permitting this important debate. I also take this opportunity to apologise to those retired miners who made the long journey from the coalfield areas in anticipation that the debate would take place last week. Unfortunately, that was impossible owing to Government business.
In March I was honoured to accompany a group of retired mineworkers and MPs from coalfield areas to deliver a petition with more than 100,000 signatures to No. 10 Downing Street calling for a review of the surplus sharing arrangements for the mineworkers’ pension scheme. The petition is the basis on which this debate was called. I thank all those who have campaigned for pension justice for miners and their dependants.
I must declare an interest. Like many miners, my father and grandfather died prematurely in their 50s, their lives cut short by the industrial diseases prevalent in coalfield communities. While my father never collected his pension, my mother has been left with a reduced widow’s pension from the British Coal staff superannuation scheme. Every year, thousands of miners face premature death because of the dangerous conditions they toiled in underground many years ago.