Dear Prime Minister,
We are writing regarding the recent BEIS Select Committee report into the terms and conditions of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme. As part of the inquiry the committee held evidence sessions with trustees of the scheme, members of the scheme, representatives from the NUM and Government Ministers as well as receiving written evidence from a range of interested parties.
As the group of MPs who originally signed a cross-party letter calling for the inquiry, we strongly welcome the report and are writing following its publication calling for immediate action from the Government.
The Pension Scheme is hugely important to many thousands of our constituents. The scheme has around 152,000 members with 135,000 eligible to receive their pension. The current average pension for former miners in the Scheme is £84 a week. Many are therefore on considerably less than that amount.
The Government has received over £4.4 billion from the Scheme as a result of a surplus sharing arrangement set up in 1994, which gives 50% of any surplus to the Government. At the same time, the Government has not contributed to the Scheme, due to a payment holiday which began in 1987.
This report was cross-party and agreed by all members of the BEIS committee. In particular, the report highlights two key points:
• That the £1.2bn reserve fund should be given back to pensioners immediately
• That the surplus sharing arrangement should be changed to give more to pensioners
The Government both manages and profits from the Scheme but makes no financial contribution. The report clearly highlights how unfair this situation is, concluding that ‘government shouldn’t be in the business of profiting from miners’ pensions’. We hope you agree and will implement the range of recommendations as soon as is possible.
Stephanie Peacock MP