Midlothian MSP adds support to call for miners strike compensation and review

A local MSP has joined a group of SNP MSPs in writing to the UK Home Secretary to call for a compensation scheme for those affected by convictions during the 1980s Miners’ Strikes to be set up using the surplus from the Miner’s Pension Scheme.

Due to legislation passed at Holyrood, Scotland recently became the first country in the UK to pardon former miners convicted of certain offences related to strike action in the 1980.

With the incidents pre-dating the existence of the Scottish Parliament and responsibility for the actions lying with Westminster, the MSPs are calling for the UK Government to conduct a full review into the policing of the Miners’ Strikes and to set up a compensation scheme for those affected.

Christine Grahame, MSP for Midlothian South, said: “Representing many former mining communities, I know the lasting scars the events surrounding the 1980s Miners’ Strikes have left on these areas. The passing of the Miners’ Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill rights a historic wrong and represents an important official acknowledgment of the injustice inflicted on these miners and their families, who have had to live with all the issues a criminal record brings about.

Members of the NUM miners' union picket line clash with police outside Bilston Glen colliery during the miners strike in June 1984. Four policemen struggle with a picket.

“While pardons will help remove the stigma of criminality and restore dignity to those convicted, it is not enough – we must also have the truth about what happened and fair compensation. We have miners already going to their grave without the UK Government owning up to what it did to them."

The UK Treasury has benefitted by £4.4 billion since the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme was privatised in 1994, representing almost half a million pounds a day, every day, for 28 years under both Labour and Conservative governments. The SNP MSPs want to see this surplus used to benefit the miners and the families of deceased miners, including through a compensation scheme.

Ms Grahame added: “The release of official Westminster Government papers under the 30-year rule confirmed the UK State’s involvement with and responsibility for events surrounding the 1984 dispute. There must be a full review into what happened to ensure it cannot happen again.

“Compensation for those affected is needed and with the UK Treasury siphoning off huge profits from the Mineworkers' Pension Scheme it is the right and just thing to redirect that money into this and supporting miners and their families.

“The UK Government must take responsibility now and act with transparency and accountability on this – this injustice has already gone on too long.”