HC Deb 05 July 1971 vol 820 cc907-8
16. Mr. Skinner

asked the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry whether he is now in a position to consider a review of the miners' over-55 redundancy agreement to take account of inflation.

Mr. Ridley

Yes, Sir. Preliminary work on the review is in hand and I hope shortly to be in a position to have discussions with the National Coal Board and the National Union of Mineworkers.

Mr. Skinner

I am pleased that the Minister is getting on with the job which he promised on Third Reading of the Coal Industry Bill a few months ago. When he discusses the matter with the National Coal Board and, more particularly, with the N.U.M., will he take into account that he might take a line through, say, Lord Robens' recent award of about £2,500 after ten years' service? Bearing in mind that some of the miners get as low as 30 per cent. of take-home pay, taking into account real money values at the present time, will he see that the 90 per cent. is carried through on a proper basis?

Mr. Ridley

We clearly appreciate the effects of inflation upon the scheme and, indeed, on other Government pension schemes, and we shall consider them all in that light.

Mr. Varley

Is the hon. Gentleman aware that during the proceedings on the Coal Industry Bill the matter raised by my hon. Friend was fully discussed and a pretty firm undertaking was given by the Government that the erosion of the redundancy scheme would be taken fully into account in the discussions to which he has referred? If it is not taken into account, we on this side will regard it as a broken pledge.

Mr. Ridley

The hon. Gentleman has no reason to regard it as a broken pledge. I said to his hon. Friend that we were continuing to take this into account and that we shall continue to do so in the discussions which will follow.