As reported in the Barnsley News and Sport on 24th April, Stephanie has signed and supported a letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer which calls for a formal review of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme.
The current arrangement sees the Government acting as guarantor for mineworker pension pay-outs, with surpluses made by the scheme split evenly between its members and the Treasury.
Since the agreement was struck in 1994, the Government has taken around £4.4bn from the scheme without paying in a single penny of their own. This includes £617m this year alone, with another £427m planned over the next three years.
Stephanie recently held a parliamentary debate on the issue, pressing Government business ministers in the House of Commons to review the 50:50 surplus sharing arrangement, and now she has joined a number of other Labour MPs in signing a letter to the Chancellor, asking the Treasury to do the same.
In the letter, the signatories stated: “The strong returns generated by the scheme combined with the absence of direct payments from the Government make the continued withdrawal of a 50% share for the current arrangement difficult to justify.
“We call on the Government both to include a stronger level of protection for members’ bonuses as part of the guarantee and to consider taking a reduced share of the surplus to allow a greater proportion to be returned to mineworkers.
“To this end, we would request that HM Treasury undertake a formal review of the surplus sharing arrangements, the case for reform and means of enhancing existing bonuses along with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.”
Said Stephanie: “I’ve long voiced my opposition to the current surplus sharing arrangement in the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme that has seen the Government pocket billions without paying in a penny of their own.
“Miners here in Barnsley, who spent years working hard for security in later life should not be forced to get by on a pittance as this Government continues to take money from the scheme.
“I’ll continue fighting to get a fairer deal for miners and a greater share of the funds from their pension pot.”