HC Deb 02 March 2000 vol 345 cc337-8W
23. Mr. Todd

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry if he will make a statement on the use of surpluses from the mineworkers pension funds. [111554]

Mrs. Liddell

Surpluses in the coal pension schemes (The Mineworkers' Pension Scheme and the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme) are split 50/50 between the membership of the schemes and the Government in our role as guarantor to the schemes.

In accordance with Coal Industry Act 1994 (Sch.5, paragraph 2(10)), all surpluses received by the Secretary of State must be paid into the Consolidated Fund. However, under Government Accounting rules, receipts can be used to offset related expenditure by the Department concerned. In this case, the Treasury has agreed that DTI may, for the present, retain pension fund receipts to help offset expenditure on liabilities inherited from British Coal.