§ Valerie Davey
To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what progress is being made on the scheme announced on 17 January to award one-off lump sum payments to members of the mineworkers pension scheme on the lowest pensions.172W
§ Mr. Wilson
Payments totalling £38.2 million have now been made to over 28,000 coal pensioners on the lowest incomes. This is the first tranche of the initiative I announced that will benefit around 66,000 former coal miners at a cost of £90 million.
Those who have been paid are the oldest members of the mineworkers pension scheme. The remaining members who are not yet at pensionable age will receive their payments over the next 12 months.
These lump sum payments are in addition to the average bonus increase of 30 per cent. that have been awarded to members of the British Coal pension schemes since privatisation, over and above the annual inflation increase.