AN MP has called for an improved pension for former coal-miners.

Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer to secure a better deal for retired coal-miners.

She said: “Although the last pit in our area closed in 1986, there are many retired colliers living locally. Some have come to me for help and one thing I fast realised in talking to them was that there were a number of discrepancies with regards to pensions.

"Like many people from our area, I’m from a mining family and wanted to secure fairness for these men who contributed so much during their working lives.

“I spoke to other MPs who represent former coal-mining areas about it and we made a joint representation to the Chancellor. We believe there’s a strong case for providing greater protection for pension bonuses and for revisiting the bonus sharing arrangements.”

<PANEL> The full letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Philip Hammond MP:

Dear Chancellor,

We are writing to you regarding the surplus sharing arrangements for the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme and ways that we can ensure a fairer deal for former mineworkers.

The 1994 arrangement saw the UK Government agree to guarantee the scheme and all pensions in cash terms in return for a 50% share of any subsequent surpluses.

This has seen the Government receive a total of around £4.1 billion from the Scheme since 1994, although it has not made direct payments into the scheme itself.

We want to fully recognise the importance of the Government guarantee and the protection that it provides to former miners and are clear that this must continue.

However we do believe that there is a strong case both for providing greater protection for pension bonuses and for revisiting the sharing arrangements. We understand that the trustees have been in communication with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) regarding long-term protection for bonuses and have put forward a proposal for consideration.

It is our belief that the strong returns generated by the scheme combined with the absence of direct payments from the Government make the continued withdrawal of a 50% share for the current arrangement difficult to justify.

Specifically, we call on the Government both to include a stronger level of protection for members’ bonuses as part of the guarantee and to consider taking a reduced share of the surplus to allow a greater proportion to be returned to mineworkers.

To this end, we would request that HM Treasury undertake a formal review of the surplus sharing arrangements, the case for reform and means of enhancing existing bonuses along with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

We would additionally request clarification regarding the Minister with overall responsibility for the scheme as we understand that this position has not been formally confirmed.

We look forward to working with HM Treasury, BEIS, former mineworkers, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) and the trustees to assist with this and how we can work together to make sure that former mineworkers, their families and communities receive their fair share for their decades of hard work.