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Raid on retired miners' pensions termed "unjustified"

written by Bella Palmer

The scheme has nearly 152,000 members and their average pension is just £84 a week, with more than half getting less than the average pension

Retired miners have seen £4.4bn taken out of their pockets in an "unjustified" raid on their pensions by the government, Labour has said.

The Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme was privatised in 1994 as part of a deal, with the Treasury receiving 50% of the fund's surplus value - something Shadow Business Secretary Ed Miliband has described as an "historic wrong".

The scheme has nearly 152,000 members and their average pension is just £84 a week, with more than half getting less than the average pension.

When the fund was privatised, it was expected the Government would receive around £4bn in today’s money, but that payout has climbed to £4.4bn, according to a report by MPs.

The Government is also due to receive at least another £1.9bn on top of 50% off any future surpluses, in what the cross-party Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee have called an "historic injustice".

Mr Miliband has now urged Boris Johnson to rewrite the 1994 deal and immediately return £1.2bn to the pension's reserve fund.

According to estimates by the National Union of Miners, returning the cash would mean those on the average pension of £84 per week, or £728 a year would see their pensions rise by £14 per week.

During the 2019 general election campaign, the Prime Minister had promised ex-miners he would take action.

He told reporters: We will make sure that all their cash is fully protected and returned. I have looked into it and we will ensure that’s done.

Mr Miliband said: It’s wrong and scandalous that the Conservative government set up an arrangement which was a totally unjustified raid on miners’ pensions. It is high time that the government acted to right this historic wrong.

Labour would do the right thing and ensure miners get the pensions to which they are entitled, including returning £1.2bn which would make a difference to retired miners and their families, he said.

He said Labour is fighting for justice for retired miners and their families. Returning this money to those who rightly deserve it is the right and just thing to do. We demand the government acts.


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