CARMARTHEN East and Dinefwr MP, Jonathan Edwards who has been a longstanding supporter of the review into the current set-up in relation to the mineworker’s pension scheme and helped former miners deliver a petition to Number 10 Downing Street, has welcomed this victory for mineworkers.
When British Coal was privatised in 1994, an arrangement was made between the Westminster Conservative government and the trustees of the British Coal pension schemes on future arrangements for pensions from these schemes. The Conservative government guaranteed that core pensions would not be lost to coal miners or their widows, and in exchange, there was an agreement it would receive 50% of any surpluses generated by the pension fund.
The 2003 review by the Westminster Labour government refused to adjust the 50/50 surplus sharing arrangement and the current Conservative government has maintained this position. As of November 2018, the British government had received over £4.4bn under the surplus sharing arrangements since 1994.
Following a parliamentary debate in June where the Plaid Cymru Treasury Spokesperson accused successive governments of ripping off miners, Mr Edwards, co-signed a letter to the Minister to press the case for the pension trustees.
The Minister has now written to MPs and whilst no definite timeframe has been given, the Minister has stated that the proposals have been recommended to the Treasury. Should an agreement with the Treasury be reached, the Minister has estimated that the proposals should be implemented within a few months.
In responding to the news that the proposals are now to be recommended to the Treasury, Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards said:
“I welcome this positive development and this victory is a testament to the miners who have campaigned for a fair settlement. For decades they have been failed by successive Tory and Labour governments in Westminster.
“I am proud to have supported the miner’s campaign and I will continue to press the Treasury so that it acts swiftly to deliver upon the recommendations so that the mineworkers receive their fair share.”