The BEIS Committee is holding a short inquiry into the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, and in particular the Scheme’s surplus sharing arrangements.
When British Coal was privatised in 1994, an agreement was made between the Government and the Trustees of the Mineworkers Pension Scheme (MPS) on future arrangements for pensions.
The Government guaranteed that pensioners would always receive the benefits they had earned up to privatisation, and that these benefits would increase in line with inflation. However, in return for this guarantee, the Government is also entitled to receive 50% of any surplus in the Scheme’s value at subsequent valuations (to the extent that these funds are not needed to maintain benefits). The remaining 50% of the surplus is to be distributed to pensioners through improved benefits. The Government has maintained that this arrangement works well. On 23 December 2020, a group of MPs representing coalfield communities wrote to the Chair of the Business Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee calling for an inquiry into the surplus sharing arrangements. The letter highlights that the Government has received over £4 billion from the scheme, but has made no contribution to it since 1994.
The BEIS Committee will inquire into how the surplus-sharing arrangements were agreed, the Government’s role as Guarantor of the Scheme, and the continued appropriateness of the 50:50 split.
The Committee welcomes evidence submissions from organisations and individuals with views on the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, and in particular from retired miners and beneficiaries of the Scheme.