Labour chairman who slammed Tories over treatment of miners pocketed £165k of union cash

BREAKING NEWS

Daily Express :: UK Feed

Advertisements

This includes a £72,5000 loan which he used to buy a house – the debt was forgiven 13 years later. Mr Lavery, who was the president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) 2002-2010, became the MP for Wansbeck in 2010. He was also the general secretary of the NUM Northumberland branch for 18 years, before stepping down to run as a candidate in the general election.

The trade unionist featured in a campaign video released on social media yesterday that accused the Conservative Party of “stealing the miners’ pension fund”.

SUBSCRIBE

The video attacked the decision to – when the coal industry was privatised in 1994 – share surplus money in the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme between its members and the Government.

However, Mr Lavery, who is a close ally of Jeremy Corbyn, is now facing questions as to how he financially benefited when he ran the 10-member Northumberland NUM branch.

A 2017 report from the Certification Office for Trade Unions and Employers’ Associations, which regulates unions, found that the NUM benevolent fund lent him £72,5000 to buy a house in 1994.

The loan was made at below market rate and then written off in 2007 when an endowment policy taken out against it failed to perform as expected – leaving Mr Lavery £72,500 richer.

Advertisements

While the endowment fund he had been paying into to pay back the capital cost of the house underperformed, it still paid out £18,000 which he and his wife also kept.

What’s more, the report also showed he took a £89,887 termination payment from the union when he became an MP.

It added that the union overpaid him £30,600 but, after he disputed £10,600 of it, he eventually volunteered to repay just £15,000 of the nearly £90,000.

Advertisements

When asked why the union settled, they said they were aware of the potential legal costs of not settling.

The union said: “Mr Lavery was adamant that £15,000 was his final offer and we were left with little choice but to accept.”

The report was unable to answer why he even received redundancy money in the first place when he voluntarily quit the role to be an MP.

Neither the union nor Mr Lavery could provide any documentation as evidence of the process or decision by which he was made redundant.

If all these are added up – the £72,500 from the forgiven house loan, the £90,000 minus the £15,000 he paid back, and the £18,000 endowment gift, he pocketed a whopping £165,000 in total. 

The union regulator also found that in 2005 Mr Lavery sold a 15 percent stake in his house to the union and then bought it back in 2013 – when the house was worth less – for £27,5000 giving him a profit of £8,500. 

Advertisements

During his time heading up the branch, hundreds of thousands of pounds were given by miners who had been compensated for industrial injuries.

Mr Lavery, 56, denies any wrongdoing and has been cleared by the parliamentary watchdog and Mr Corbyn himself.

At the time the report was published in October 2017, Mr Lavery said: “Under my stewardship the union always complied with the rules and certification officer signed off every year’s transactions.

“As the certification officer’s report makes clear, no member of the union, past or present, has made a complaint about the financial affairs of the union.

“I am pleased that the certification officer has decided not to appoint an inspector take further actions.

“This report should draw a line under almost two years of allegations and innuendo directed at me and my former colleagues.”

Advertisements

Mr Lavery, who is Mr Corbyn’s general election joint coordinator as well as chairman of the party, is thought to be destined for high office if Labour form a government later this month.

Last year, he avoided a question asked by BBC Newsnight last year: “Did you pay off the mortgage?”

He refused to answer, despite being asked nine times.

Labour chairman who slammed Tories over treatment of miners pocketed £165k of union cash

This includes a £72,500 loan which he used to buy a house – the debt was forgiven 13 years later. Mr Lavery, who was the president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) 2002-2010, became the MP for Wansbeck in 2010.

This includes a £72,5000 loan which he used to buy a house – the debt was forgiven 13 years later. Mr Lavery, who was the president of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) 2002-2010, became the MP for Wansbeck in 2010. He was also the general secretary of the NUM Northumberland branch for 18 years, before stepping down to run as a candidate in the general election.

Advertisements
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.