UK GOVERNMENT TAKING £1m A DAY FROM PENSION FUND
Plaid Cymru’s North Wales AM Llyr Gruffydd has today urged the UK Government to end the “pension raid” of large sums of money being taken from the Mineworkers’ Pension Fund (MPS).
His colleague, the Plaid Cymru AM for South East Wales Steffan Lewis, will lead an Assembly debate on the topic on Wednesday where he will call for a review of the 50-50 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 Government in Cardiff 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.
Llyr Gruffudd AM said, “The UK government stands accused of creaming off a huge amount of money that is rightfully owed by people who’ve grafted all their lives. They’re using the Mineworkers’ Pension Fund as a cash cow for the state.
“It’s 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 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 North East where we have a proud but often neglected mining history. The coalfield once stretched from the Point of Ayr down to Black Park and Halton near Chirk, employing 16,000 at its peak. Although the last pit closed in 1992, the legacy of coal mining is still felt in terms of miners’ health and the contribution they made.
“With that in mind, I am fully supportive of the miners’ union campaign to have the pension scheme reviewed and a fairer settlement found so that miners and their families 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.”