HC Deb 31 March 1958 vol 585 cc846-7
35. Mr. A. Roberts

asked the Paymaster-General what proposals he has received from the National Coal Board for his approval of pension schemes for mine workers who retired between 1st January, 1947, and 1st January. 1950; and if he will make a statement.

Sir I. Horobin

Proposals have been made to my noble Friend for payment out of the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme of pensions to miners who retired before the Scheme came into force on 1st January, 1952, and who, consequently, were never contributors to the Scheme. He has not felt able to give his approval as these proposals would involve departure from the established principle that such pensions should be related to contributions paid by the beneficiary, they would give preferential treatment to the mineworkers and they would have widespread repercussions on other pensions schemes.

Mr. Roberts

Does the hon. Gentleman agree that, in the light of the handsome compensation paid to the coal owners, those mine workers who have given a life's work in the industry are due for some compensation, particularly those who have retired during the ownership of the National Coal Board?

Sir I. Horobin

I am not sure whether the hon. Member is asking me to agree to a statement that the Socialist Government omitted to protect the rights of miners when they settled the terms of the Nationalisation Act. All I am concerned with is the present position. As I have said in my answer, we must bear in mind that all these pension schemes are inter-related; we cannot consider one without another.