UK government must end “ongoing injustice” – Steffan Lewis
Plaid Cymru AM for South Wales East, Steffan Lewis, has today urged the UK Government to end the “ongoing injustice” of large sums of money being taken from the Mineworkers’ Pension Fund (MPS).
Steffan Lewis will lead an Assembly debate on the topic on Wednesday where he will call for a review of the fifty-fifty surplus sharing arrangement between the UK Government and MPS – a review which is backed by the National Union of Mineworkers.
He will also call on the Labour Welsh Government to work with other devolved administrations to secure such a review by the UK Government in order to secure greater fairness for former miners and their families.
Plaid Cymru Assembly Member for the South East, Steffan Lewis said:
“In recent weeks the UK government has disgracefully decided not to properly address a past injustice against the miners – the Battle of Orgreave. In addition to addressing past injustices, it must now confront an ongoing injustice, the use of the Mineworkers’ Pension Fund as a cash cow for the state.
“It is estimated that the UK government has taken around £8 billion from the pension fund over the years – a staggering rate of £1 million a day.
“This is a scandalous sum of money that could be better used to provide enhanced benefits for former miners and their families.
“It is time for a review so that the surplus from the fund is more fairly split between government and miners.
“No one is questioning that the government is entitled to financial protection as the guarantor of the pension fund, but the current situation is excessive and unjustifiable.
“This is a hugely important issue in Wales, particularly in the South East where we have a proud mining history. I am fully supportive of miners’ campaign to have the pension scheme reviewed and a more fair settlement found so that miners can receive a greater share of the surplus it generates.
“I hope all parties in the Assembly will support Plaid Cymru’s motion calling for a review of the surplus element of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme.”