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Stop the theft of miners’ pensions!

The Workers Party of Britain denounces Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s plans for the government to keep on milking the mineworkers’ pension fund, in spite of the recommendation in April by a parliamentary committee that it cease.

Back in 1994, when the privatisation (theft) of British Coal was enacted, a deal was done. In exchange for the government acting as guarantor for miners’ pensions (which it was morally obliged to do anyway), the Treasury would get its sticky fingers on one half of any surplus. As it turned out, the fund prospered, so far handing the Treasury £4.4 billion extra cash.

In April the Commons Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee recommended that the miners’ fund be returned the £1.2billion and for the Treasury to stop taking any more of its money. This would have had the effect of raising the average weekly pensions from £84 to £98. 

But now the Daily Mirror reports that Sunak is blocking “the return of £1.2billion from the Miners’ Pension Fund reserve, as demanded by MPs. And the Treasury will continue with plans to take another £1.6billion on top of the £4.4billion it has already pocketed from the fund’s surplus.”

This is injustice piled on injustice. First came the theft of the publicly owned mining industry by the privateers, now comes the theft of miners’ deferred earnings from a lifetime of toil.