Miners' pension promise in Labour manifesto

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Retired miners would get a fairer share of their pension under a Labour government, the party’s newly-released manifesto has revealed.

A bitter row between miners and the Government has developed off the back of the privatisation of British Coal in 1994.

March to mark the 35th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave during the miners strike, NUM General Secretary Chris Kitchen speaking. Photo: Dean Atkins

March to mark the 35th anniversary of the Battle of Orgreave during the miners strike, NUM General Secretary Chris Kitchen speaking. Photo: Dean Atkins

At the time, when miners and their families signed up to the pension scheme, they were told that “no more than £2bn” would be taken by the Government to guarantee the scheme over the next 25 years.

But Chris Kitchen, General Secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said £4.5bn had been taken from the pot over that time, leaving miners with an unfair cut.

Labour’s manifesto, launched today, said: “Labour has listened to the NUM and in government will end the injustice of the state taking 50 per cent of the surplus in the mineworkers’ Pension Scheme and introduce new sharing arrangements so that 10 per cent goes to government and 90 per cent stays with scheme members.

“This new sharing arrangement will also apply to the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme.”

Mr Kitchen said: “It’s not been a hard slog [getting Labour on side] because most of the Labour MPs are from mining constituencies or mining areas.”

But he said the battle over the pensions had been difficult, and the figures had not just been “plucked out of the sky” but the union had worked with experts to develop the ratio.

He said: “We were totally misled and lied to at the time of privatisation, so this is welcome news. We did try and approach the Tory Government about it but they did not want to know.

“We’re looking forward to a Labour government.”

On a visit to Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, last week Prime Minister Boris Johnson made a "categorical" pledge that miners will soon receive their fair share of the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme.

Mr Johnson said: “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."