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Mineworkers’ pensions – Government’s response ‘slap in the face’ for scheme members, says Business Committee Chair

5 July 2021

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee has today published the Government’s response to the BEIS Committee’s Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme report (which was published on 29th April 2021).

In the Government’s response, BEIS Department Minister Rt Hon Anne-Marie Trevelyan sets out the Government’s rejection of the BEIS Committee’s recommendations, including that the 50:50 surplus sharing arrangements should be reviewed to ensure they are fair and deliver a better outcome for pensioners.

[Please note: In the Government response – the attached pdf document - the BEIS Committee’s original report recommendations are in bold type, the Government response is in plain type.]

Chair's comment

Darren Jones, Chair of the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee, said:

“Members of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme will be deeply disappointed at the intransigent message of the Government’s response to our report. It represents a slap in the face for pension scheme members that the Government is continuing its ‘take it or leave it’ approach on arrangements around the Government guarantee.

“The Government has benefited from billions of pounds of surpluses since 1994 without having to contribute a pound of taxpayers’ money to miners’ pensions. The Government says it is willing to listen, but they reject any meaningful negotiation on the guarantee or any review of the terms of the 50:50 split. The tone of the Government’s response suggests they do not understand the reality of the historic injustice felt by thousands of retired miners. Ministers should think again and help ensure these pensioners get a fair deal.

“I will be meeting with the pension scheme trustees in due course to discuss the Government’s response and my committee will then agree how best to take this matter further.”

Background – Mineworkers’ pensions report, 29th April 2021

Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, Sixth Report of Session 2019–21, HC 1346 See also news item.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) Committee’s report said the Government should review the surplus sharing arrangements in the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme to ensure they are fair and deliver a better outcome for pensioners. The report also called for the Government to relinquish its entitlement to the Investment Reserve, and transfer the £1.2bn fund to miners, to provide an immediate cash uplift to former miners.

The Committee’s report examined the Scheme’s controversial 50:50 split surplus sharing arrangement and notes that “allowing the arrangement to continue would appear antithetical to the Government's stated aim of redressing socio-economic inequality and 'levelling up' left-behind communities”.

The arrangement was agreed in 1994 in return for a Government guarantee that the value of pensions would never decrease.

Further information

Image: Geograph.org