It is time for justice for the thousands of former miners in the South Wales valleys
When British Coal was privatised in 1994, the trustees of the company pension scheme, representing thousands of mineworkers in South Wales and across the UK, agreed to split any surplus of the scheme 50/50, in exchange for the Government acting as a guarantor for the scheme.
Since this time, the Government hasn’t made any direct payments into the pension scheme, and has received £4.4 billion under the surplus sharing arrangements over the last 25 years.
Meanwhile, the average pension scheme payment to miners is currently just £84 a week – and in some cases, this is much lower.
I feel that this is grossly unfair, especially when compared with the £4.4 billion the Government has received, and on June 10 in the House of Commons I joined MPs from across parties in urging the Government to carry out an immediate review of the pension surplus sharing arrangements.
Many hundreds of former miners in the Upper Rhymney Valley and across the UK have given their health and sometimes their lives for the coal industry, and the Government must act now and put right this injustice – starting with an urgent review of the pension scheme sharing arrangements.
Marking National Volunteers Week 2019 in Rhymney
Earlier this month, I spent some time volunteering at Helping Hands charity shop in Rhymney to mark National Volunteers Week. Helping Hands is a self-help cancer charity that was established in September 1994 and celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.
Helping Hands has established itself in the Upper Rhymney Valley because of the support it gives to cancer patients; however, this support would just not be possible without the commitment and dedication of the many volunteers who fundraise and work in the charity shops on Rhymney High Street.
I want to pay tribute to the volunteers in Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney constituency and the thousands across the country, who do so much to support our communities. I spent many years working in the voluntary sector and have seen at first hand the selfless contribution that so many people make to society; their contribution should never go unrecognised.
Commemorating D-Day 75: we must never forget
On June 6, I was at St Tyfaelog’s Church in Pontlottyn for an event to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day. The event brought together the congregation from the Church, community members, local schools and representatives of the Royal British Legion.
It was a reminder of the sacrifice that was made by so many on D-Day, and it is important that this and future generations continue to remember with gratitude the contribution of the wartime generation.
I am grateful to the Parish of Pontlottyn with Fochriw, along with Fochriw Primary and Idris Davies School, for their hard work in organising the event and for the displays they put together.