The Miners' Pension Theft


Since the miners' pension fund was first formed, the government of the day saw the fund as a goose that laid the golden egg. The Tories took billions of pounds from the fund, creamed off from the profits made from investments. When the fund was first set up nobody had any idea of the vast sums that would be involved. The Labour party, at that time in opposition, vehemently voiced their disproval of the Tories taking such huge amounts of cash from the fund, but once in power they too continued to rake off the profits to the tune of a million pounds a day.
Almost every miner who ever worked down a colliery will suffer from adverse health conditions, yet many have been offered as little as £100 for the damage their lungs have suffered due to exposure to coal dust. Many older ex-miners suffer painful and lingering deaths due to this condition without ever seeing a penny in compensation, and yet the government continues to take huge amounts from the fund that was set up with miners' money to help miners.

Cannock Chase Retired Miners, & Officials Association have been urging MPs, including most recently Lord Truscott, to look again at the scandalous mis-use of the miner's pension fund. The following is an extract from a letter which was recently sent to Dave Douglass from Mick Westwood.

I was just wondering if you are any nearer towards posting your thoughts about our pensions "theft" on the website.?
This morning I received my copy of "pensions newsline" from Mineworkers Pensions Scheme. I must say that Norman Braithwaite has come down strongly on the side of us who are pressing for renegotiation of the agreement. He quotes Truscotts "refusal" and also expresses the "disappointment" of the Trustees at this conclusion. For a man in his position to make so bold a statement tells me that we must, -- all of us who can,-- push harder now to give this as much publicity as we can.?
DAVID, PLEASE, help me out on the website mate.
Mick Westwood.

Dave Douglass responded to this by asking me to create a page where I can post items for the Cannock lads should they request me to do so. He also sent me the following email outlining his support of their cause:

Lord Truscott Approves Pension Robbery
A personal View from David Douglass

We shouldn't be surprised when the great and powerful do the dirty on the poor and working class, but it still hits hard when you see blatant injustice done. Lord Truscott has been looking at the case presented by the Miners Pension trustees, the Coal Community Campaign, Mick Westwood and the Cannock Chase Miners and many others, for a renegotiation of the return the government take from the miners pensions.
The 'surplus' share-out ,the profits accrued by the fund now stand at £8billion. It was never envisaged that either the NCB or its subsequent government guarantors would ever be allowed to cream off such profits from the miners pension investments. This was supposed to be their contribution into the fund, instead not only have they not invested their share, they now demand and take 50% of the profits accrued by our shares investment. Few believed the Government would be so bare faced as to actually allow the theft to carry on, and on such a scale. We expected that there would be a rejuggling and while they would still keep fortunes, some of the ill gotten gains would be ploughed back into our pensions, which is where they were supposed to go in the first place. The noble lord after due consideration of all the money involved, the needs of the pensioners and the justice of the deal, now reaches the conclusion that 'the taxpayer' shouldn't be expected to stand 'the loss'. Erm... excuse us, 'the taxpayer'?
Not one penny piece of this money came from 'the taxpayer' other than ourselves, it was never intended that our fund be used to offset the tax burden of the population at large who never contributed into it.

It is illustrative that even Norman Braithwait speaking for the Miners Pension Fund expresses his clear frustration at the injustice of the statement.

Now is not the time to give up though. We should approach ALL the political parties, including the nationalist parties in Wales and Scotland and see if we can get support and a promise to redress this injustice. We should seek pledges from each and every MP standing in elections all over the country, if they are prepared to redress the balance and restore the bulk of the surplus to the miners or not. We should then campaign against any MP who refuses to support the cause, certainly no miner, or mineworker pensioner or miner's widow should vote for them.

David Douglass


We at Miners Advice offer our full support to their cause.

A link some readers of this site may find interesting was sent to us recenly by Mick Westwood, who says; "This site has a box for comments, and is easy to access. Please visit and leave a message about our Miners Pensions fight. The more people who do, the stronger our argument becomes."