£10bn min­ers’ pen­sion fund wind­fall fury TREA­SURY CASHES IN ON SUR­PLUS

The People - - NEWS FEATURES & - By Nigel Nel­son PO­LIT­I­CAL ED­I­TOR by Vikki White

THE Gov­ern­ment has got £10BILLION from the sur­plus of re­tired min­ers’ pen­sion pots.

And Chan­cel­lor Philip Ham­mond will con­tinue min­ing the rich seam at the rate of £51mil­lion a year un­til 2019.

Mean­while some for­mer pit­men are pick­ing up £10 a week or less.

The wind­fall dates back to 1994, when British Coal was pri­va­tised and the Gov­ern­ment guar­an­teed its two pen­sion schemes.

Un­der the deal, any sur­plus was to be shared 50/ 50 be­tween the Trea­sury and the 257,000 mem- bers of the schemes, who while work­ing had con­trib­uted 5.25 per cent of their earn­ings to­wards their pen­sions. In 1996 it was es­ti­mated the funds would gen­er­ate a £2bil­lion sur­plus over 25 years – but they are do­ing much bet­ter than ex­pected and are lin­ing Trea­sury cof­fers. Now ex-shadow min­is­ter Glo­ria De Piero is lead­ing 22 fel­low Labour MPs in a de­mand for Mr Ham­mond to stop snaf­fling the cash. She said: “We can’t turn the clock back. But in next month’s Bud­get I call on the Tories to put things right by promis­ing fu­ture sur­pluses will go to ex-min­ers and their wid­ows.” The Busi­ness Depart­ment said pen­sions were around 30 per cent larger than they would have been with­out the guar­an­tee. A KEEN foot­baller who lost both legs in a hi­tand-run just seven months ago is on track to walk down the aisle on his wed­ding day.

Shaun Whiter, 28, was help­ing a pal fix a flat tyre when a driver smashed into them.

He lost four pints of blood and had to have both legs am­pu­tated be­low the knee. But a re­mark­able re­cov­ery means he is al­ready walk­ing on new pros­thetic legs.

Now he’s aim­ing to walk out of the church with his bride Char­lotte Way, also 28, on their big day in July.

Es­tate agent Shaun, who played for New­mar­ket Town FC, Suf­folk, said: “I’m get­ting there. I’m so pleased with how far I’ve come.”

Talk­ing about his pros­thetic legs, he went on: “They’re very heavy. It’s like walk­ing with stilts – but the thought of walk­ing down the aisle has kept me go­ing.”

Last Septem­ber, driver Jan Adamec, 40, was jailed for 40 months for the crash.

IN­SPI­RA­TION: Shaun with pros­thet­ics. Above, Char­lotte & story

DE­MAND: Mr Ham­mond

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