UK - Thousands of retired coal miners and miners' widows are lobbying the government to use a £5bn pension fund surplus to boost their benefits.
The surplus was generated for the government-run coal pension scheme which was closed to new members when the coal industry was privatised in 1994.
When the scheme was active the government agreed to guarantee its liabilities in return for a claim on 50% of any surplus.
Barnsley Central MP Eric Illsley is supporting the campaign and has raised the issue in parliament.
He said: “A lot of us thought that it was a little bit disingenuous to claim 50% of the surpluses when there was never any prospect that the government would have to guarantee any deficit because the scheme has a £14bn surplus.
“Rather than go into government coffers, that money should go into improving pensions payments from the scheme to poorer pensioners.”
He pointed out that when the last pensioner of the scheme stops receiving payments, the government will be entitled to the remainder of the scheme and will pocket up to £14bn.
Since privatisation in 1994, the Treasury has already claimed £1.5bn from the surplus with another £3.5bn to be paid in future instalments.
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