A letter a day to number 10. No 1,526
Thursday 18 August 2016.
Dear Mrs May,
Investments and the stock markets are wonderful things, investors can trouser £billions and laugh all the way to their next killing, unless it just happens to be your own money, earned through blood, sweat and tears, invested in your own pension fund from your own wages. Under those circumstances, the government will quite happily deny you your hard earned entitlement to payments and steal your money from you.
Such is the case with the miners, one of the most dangerous jobs in the world and from which those who survive will, almost to a man, suffer from serious, mining related, ill health. Many older ex-miners suffer painful, lingering, deaths with never a penny in compensation, yet government continues to rob them blind to this day. It is reported that the government took £750 million in 2014 alone. Over the years it has amounted to billions, yet many older miners have been offered as little as £100 in compensation for lung damage caused by coal dust.
This appalling deal was struck in 1994 when coal was privatised under John Major and his government agreed to underwrite miners pensions under the condition that the government could take a 50/50 split of any gains from investments. What the miners didn’t realise is that they were being suckered, it was a very low risk venture for the government as many miners don’t live long after retirement and the miners were treated as a cash cow that just keeps on giving.
In a curious, and perhaps typical, Machiavellian twist in this daylight robbery, Lord Truscott not only approved the robbery but came to the conclusion that ‘the taxpayer’ shouldn’t be expected to stand ‘the loss’ (sic). As ex-miner Dave Douglass observed, “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.”
Mining destroyed the health of miners and Thatcher destroyed the mines and miners livelihoods and the robbery and injustices roll on. It is estimated that at least £8 billion was been stolen from the miners over the years and as I’ve said many times, workers are rarely, if ever, invited to share the profits of their labour but this robbery of miner pensions is obscene by any standards.
Try imposing a 50/50 split on stock market gains in the City of London, they’d hear the screams in Orgreave.