Deliver Pensions Justice for Miners, Says Rhondda AM

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Plaid Cymru has called for the Westminster Government to stop taking large sums of money from the Mineworkers' Pension Fund (MPS).

 

This week, the party held a debate in the Senedd which called for an end to the “ongoing injustice” of the UK Government syphoning billions from the fund which miners paid into.

Rhondda AM Leanne Wood said it was “appalling” that the UK Government was skimming the equivalent of £1 million a day under the fifty-fifty surplus sharing arrangement between them and MPS.

The issue was highlighted in a debate brought by Plaid Cymru’s Newbridge-based Assembly Member Steffan Lewis.

Ms Wood AM said: “Miners have been treated poorly over the decades. Whether it was with the complete destruction of the industry in the 80s and 90s, the barbarity with which they were dealt with at Orgreave or being dragged through the High Court when they tried to get compensation for dust-related diseases, miners have had a raw deal.

“That theme is continuing today with the UK Government continuing to use the miners’ pension fund as a cash-cow.

“It is estimated that various UK governments – both Tory and Labour ones - have taken around £8 billion from the pension fund since 1994. This equates to a staggering rate of £1 million a day. It is appalling.

“This is money that could be better used to provide enhanced benefits for former miners and their families.”

She added: “Plaid Cymru has called for this ongoing injustice to end. We support the 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.

“In the Rhondda, we have a proud history of working the famous steam coal seam beneath our feet. Thousands of coal miners toiled hard over decades and put money away for their retirement, which was often plagued with ill-health because of the nature of working underground.

“If the UK Government was to stop skimming money from the Mineworkers' Pension Fund, former miners could have a more comfortable retirement than they have at the moment. This would have the potential to be transformative for many families in the Rhondda and the local economy.”

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