Cumbria Crack

Workington MP raises steel pension concerns

Sue Hayman MP

[S]ue Hayman, Member of Parliament for Workington, has written to the chair of the British Steel Pension Scheme, Allan Johnstone, following her public meeting in Workington on Friday 27th October with more than 150 pension scheme members.

At the public meeting, pension scheme members raised a number of issues with Sue, and asked her to write to Mr Johnstone in order to try and resolve the matters.

In her letter, Sue writes: “Can you confirm whether there will be enough experts on hand at your Roadshow in Workington on 27 November? I envisage there to be anywhere in the region of 250 people in attendance, who may need one to one advice. My own concern is for the older pensioners who may not have access to modern technology or even understand it.

“Concern was raised about the venue – Hunday Manor – and its remote location, which would be impossible for people to get to who didn’t drive. As far as I am aware, there is no public transport to or near the venue. Could a more central venue not be found, for example the Washington Central Hotel in the centre of Workington? The timings of the roadshow were also a concern to people working shift patterns – is this something that could be addressed?

“How will people be made aware when their applications have been received and whether they have been accepted?

“Ten per cent of people attending the meeting had not received any information at all and I have asked my constituents for further information to pass on.

“Access by telephone and email does not seem to be what was promised, with little or no success by people who have been trying. Those who had managed to get through have heard nothing further.

“It was said that TATA Steel could not fund the old pension scheme using Port Talbot works as a reason, but they will have 2 representatives on the new trustee panel. Can you confirm if this is the case and if so, what the reason is?

“It is also said that the proposed new scheme would have a 30% share in TATA Steel UK. It would be interesting to see the current value of that 30%, where it came from and what would happen if a merger took place in the near future.”

Sue said: “I sincerely hope that Mr Johnstone, on behalf of the British Steel Pension Scheme, can address these concerns as a matter of urgency and respond to my letter as soon as possible. My constituents deserve answers and I will continue to fight on their behalf, to ensure that they have economic security and stability in retirement.”

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