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No compensation for arrested miners: Holyrood blocks payment but unions suggest a compromise

Richard Leonard (Pic: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)
Richard Leonard (Pic: Jane Barlow/PA Wire)

Scottish Government ministers have said it would be too expensive to compensate miners wrongly arrested during the 1984 strike.

Campaigners want more than 200 miners dismissed from their jobs as a result of being convicted of criminal offences during the bitter dispute to be compensated for lost redundancy payments and pensions.

MSP Richard Leonard last week failed to have the compensation scheme added to the proposed Miners Pardon Bill, which is currently going through Holyrood.

‘These men were badly wronged. It is up to Scotland to right those wrongs’: Calls to compensate miners unfairly arrested in 1984

Justice Minister Keith Brown told the chamber: “The amendment does not specify what would be compensated for, nor does it specify an amount to be paid or the basis for calculating such an amount.”

Now the National Union of Mineworkers has suggested a one-off payment of a set amount, depending on the charges each miner was convicted of.

The union’s president Nicky Wilson has written to ministers saying: “Our compromise proposal is for financial redress to be attached to the pardon automatically, as a similar symbolic gesture in recognition of the loss and injury caused by an injustice unresolved over four decades.”

‘Dad would be fighting for justice’: Mick McGahey Jnr on compensation for arrested miners

Last night Leonard said: “I’m convinced it is both necessary and possible for the Scottish parliament to compensate former miners and their families and pardon them as well.”

Convicted miner Alex Bennett, 73, who lost thousands when he was sacked, said: “We aren’t looking for compensation. We are just looking to have the money that was stolen from us, and our families, returned to us.”

The Scottish Government said: “By offering a pardon, the government is doing what it can within its powers to restore dignity to miners convicted in relation to the strike.”