Rishi Sunak’s plans to take £1.2bn from miners’ pensions dubbed ‘daylight robbery’ from ‘brave men’

Scrapping plans give miners £1.2 billion in pensions has been called "cruel" and a "kick in the teeth" to retired miners and their families.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak

The government’s decision to scrap plans to give miners £1.2 billion in pensions has been called “cruel” and a “kick in the teeth” to retired miners and their families.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak and the government have been slammed, saying this is “daylight robbery” from the “brave men who risked their lives every day underground”.

The government currently gets half of any of the surplus that comes from the miners’ scheme, which it’s already made £4.4 billion on.

A parliamentary committee called for a review of the arrangement back in April. But the government has now said it believes the original scheme was “fair and beneficial”.

Yet people have reacted, calling it “cruel”.

Darren Jones MP commented that it is “unjustified to keep billions of pounds of pension income from former miners and their families”.

Grahame Morris added: “The Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to kick retired miners and their families in the teeth by holding on to billions of pounds that is rightfully theirs and blocking the return of £1.2billion from the Miners’ Pension Fund reserve, as demanded by MPs.”

“This is appalling @RishiSunak,” Lawyer Peter Stefanovic added.

“It’s daylight robbery from the brave men who risked their lives every day underground in the most unimaginable conditions to keep our homes, hospitals & schools warm & the wheels of our industry turning. We owe them.”

Chris Kitchen from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) pointed out that the £4.4 billion was more than the government expected to get at the time the guarantee arrangement was entered into.

He said: “The Government has already had £4.4 billion from the MPS guarantee arrangement with a similar amount from the British Coal Staff Scheme. 

“The NUM is not asking the Treaaury to put any money into the Scheme but to accept they have had enough out and allow the £1.2 billion in the Investment Reserve Fund and the £700m due to be returned to government over the next 7 years to be used by the Trustees to increase pensions

“It has to be noted that the Scheme has gone through the financial crisis of 2008 and the Coronavirus pandemic without the Treasury having to put a single penny into the Scheme under the guarantee. 

“The arrangements are not only unfair as recognised by the BEIS Select Committee report but without any other justification are a punishment on the Mineworkers of the UK, their widows and communities.”

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has been contacted for comment.

Lucy Skoulding is a journalist and human rights student. You can follow her on Twitter.

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