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UK Government Faces Backlash For Cutting Steelworkers Pensions: “It’s A Disgrace”

Former steelworkers express outrage over the UK government’s inaction regarding lost pensions, leaving many feeling cheated and betrayed.

Decades of Discontent

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Workers at the Allied Steel and Wire (ASW) plant in Cardiff lost their pensions when the company collapsed in 2002, leading to a prolonged battle for justice.

Campaign for Restoration

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Despite winning the right to receive 90% of their pensions, campaigners argue that the lack of annual increases fails to adequately address their financial losses.

Disillusionment and Frustration

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John Benson, a former steelworker, condemned the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for neglecting its responsibility to ensure pensioners receive their rightful entitlements.

“trying to just cheat us out of what we paid for”.

Not Accepting Responsibility

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He told the BBC, “It’s a disgrace the way they’ve treated us. They’ve got to accept their responsibilities.”

“No matter how much this costs, this is our money. We paid for this indexation, we paid for this pension, we trusted government. They waste billions on vanity projects then say they can’t afford this.”

Demand for Accountability

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Workers demand that the government fulfill its obligations and rectify the situation, emphasizing that pension funds are rightfully theirs and not subject to arbitrary cost-cutting measures.

Origins of the Crisis

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The campaign for pension restoration began following the collapse of ASW, leaving workers jobless and deprived of the pensions they had diligently contributed to over the years.

Erosion of Pension Value

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Over time, pension values have dwindled due to the absence of inflation adjustments, exacerbating the financial strain on affected workers.

Plaid Cymru’s Intervention

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Hywel Williams MP, work and pensions spokesperson for the, party highlighted the injustice faced by pensioners in an interview with the BBC.

“Workers say they are only receiving around half of what is owed to them due to the UK government’s scheme failing to protect contributions from inflation,” he said, adding the refusal to make up the difference was “deeply disappointing” while blaming cost was “in bad taste”.

UK Government Should Reconsider

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He added, “It’s clear that the UK government is not learning any lessons from the Horizon Post Office scandal and continues to take the head-in-the-sand approach to injustice. I urge them to reconsider.”

Government’s Response

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Pensions Minister Paul Maynard defends the government’s stance, saying, “The department has therefore made no such assessment and does not intend to do so, at this time,”

Call for Accountability

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Affected workers and their representatives demand accountability from the government, emphasizing the need for transparency and swift action to resolve the pension crisis.

Ongoing Struggle

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Despite assurances from government officials, steelworkers continue to face uncertainty and financial hardship, highlighting the enduring impact of the pension scandal.

Continued Advocacy

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Steelworkers and their allies vow to maintain pressure on the government until a satisfactory resolution is achieved, underscoring their determination to secure justice for all affected pensioners.

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