HL Deb 10 May 1990 vol 518 c1597WA
Lord Vinson

asked Her Majesty's Government:

Whether they will request the board of British Coal to instruct the trustees of the British Coal Board pension fund, which is appointed by that board, to require an immediate actuarial review of the fund with the aim of returning any identified surplus to British Coal, thereby offsetting past government subsidies to British Coal, rather than let the pension fund use the surplus to bid for Globe Investment Trust.

Viscount Ullswater

Half the trustees of the British Coal staff superannuation scheme and the mineworkers pension scheme are appointed by British Coal and half by the trade unions. They perform their functions for the benefit of their scheme's members and beneficiaries. The Government and British Coal have no power to give instructions to the trustees. The suggestion that the pension schemes are using a surplus to fund a bid is not correct. In practice, each scheme is subject to an actuarial review every three years. Surpluses disclosed by the most recent of such reviews have already been disposed of through enhanced benefits for members and a five-year employer's contributions holiday. The decision to bid for Globe Investment Trust is a matter for the trustees of the pension funds.