Yorkshire mineworkers deserve an apology over pension scheme 'injustice', says Business Energy and Industrial Strategy select committee chairman Darren Jones

Yorkshire miners deserve an apology and compensation over the arrangement which has meant billions of pounds from their pension fund has gone into the Government’s coffers, according to a senior MP.

The Government currently guarantees the income of pensioners in the Mineworkers Pension Scheme in return for a 50 per cent share of any profits made by the scheme.

But since privatisation in 1994 that arrangement has resulted in billions of pounds for the Treasury without any cost to tax payers, according to the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee.

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Darren Jones and Steph Peacock meet NUM members in Barnsley. Pic from Twitter

The Government insists that pension scheme members are receiving payments 33 per cent higher than they would have been thanks to the guarantee.

The committee recently published its inquiry recommendations to Ministers demanding that the £1.2bn currently sitting in a savings pot, which is earmarked to go back to the Treasury in 2029, be given directly to pensioners now and that the 50 per cent profit sharing agreement be changed for the future.

And chairman Darren Jones has now renewed his call after meeting affected mineworkers in Barnsley at the request of local Labour MP Stephanie Peacock.

Ms Peacock said the changes proposed were “long overdue and ones that we have campaigned for over a number of years”.

Mr Jones, a Labour MP in Bristol, said: “Garnishing the profits from the mineworkers pension scheme is an historic injustice that the Government needs to urgently correct.

“Yorkshire’s mineworkers and their families deserve an apology and appropriate compensation from the Government.

“I’d like to thank Stephanie Peacock MP for lobbying my committee to undertake this inquiry in the first place and for hosting my visit to hear directly from former miners today. I sincerely hope that the Government accepts our recommendations.”

After meeting mineworkers on Friday, he said: "It was clear from meeting with former miners at the NUM in Barnsley how much they've been ignored by the Government.

"For years, they've campaigned and lobbied for justice but Tory Minister after Tory Minister didn't give this issue the attention it deserved. Ministers can't ignore my committee, however, and we'll keep up the pressure until the miners get their pension funds returned."

The pension scheme affects tens of thousands of families across the East Midlands, Yorkshire and the North East.

And the BEIS select committee says its recommendations would give a £14 increase to the average weekly pension of £84.

A government spokeswoman said: “Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme members are receiving payments 33 per cent higher than they would have been thanks to the Government’s guarantee.

"On most occasions, the scheme has been in surplus and scheme members have received bonuses in addition to their guaranteed pension.

“We remain resolutely committed to protecting the pensions of mineworkers and are carefully reviewing the findings of the ​recent Select Committee’s report, and will consider all recommendations made.”