A Trade and Industry Minister will now meet with ex-miners from the Cannock Chase coal fields. Nigel Griffiths, a junior minister (a Parliamentary Under Secretary) has reportedly said that he will now come to Cannock and meet with ex-miners concerned about their pensions. This follows a meeting in Burntwood earlier this year between ex-miners and Michael Fabricant who took up their case in Parliament after the ex-miners had made no headway with other local MPs over a number of years. However, the meeting in Cannock will, it is believed, only happen as part of a bigger tour of the area by the junior minister and no date has yet been arranged. He has still not agreed to see them in London.
Michael Fabricant says: "I am delighted that there has now been at least some small movement to enable the ex-miners to express their concerns to a Government minister. Over a number of years, they had faced a brick wall both locally and with the Government nationally. I am glad that I have managed to stir things up finally on their behalves!
"My concern now is that Burntwood ex-miners should be represented at the meeting whenever it happens, as well as the Cannock ex-miners, and that the meeting should not be quick and just merely a part of a whistle stop tour of the area. This would be seen as merely a face saving exercise as we approach an election.
"The pensioners do have a case to make, they deserve being listened to properly, and the issues need to be investigated. Really, this needed the attention of at least a middle ranking minister in London with civil servants in attendance, but this has to be so much better than nothing."