Scargill loses flat costs case
Former miners’ leader Arthur Scargill has lost his fight to have the UK's National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) continue to meet the costs of his London flat for his lifetime.
The NUM had asked Mr Justice Underhill at London’s High Court to declare that it has no such continuing obligation to 74-year-old Mr Scargill, its president for 20 years until July 2002.
The union also successfully disputed Mr Scargill’s fuel allowance at his Barnsley home and payment for the preparation of his annual tax return - but not the cost of his security system in Yorkshire.
Mr Scargill has occupied the Barbican apartment, rented from the Corporation of London, since June 1982 - and the rent and associated expenses were paid by the union until 2011, except for a period between 1985 and 1991, when he met them.
The NUM’s counsel, Nicholas Davidson QC, argued the case was not about whether anyone thought any particular obligation ought to exist - but whether it did exist, based on documents dating back 30 years and the identification of what terms were agreed between duly authorised representatives of the NUM and Mr Scargill.
Mr Scargill’s counsel, Timothy Pitt-Payne QC, argued that he was entitled to the retirement benefits under the terms of his successive contracts of employment with the NUM and pursuant to various decisions of the union and its constituent bodies.
Mr Scargill had drawn the court’s attention to the NUM’s practice of providing accommodation in retirement for former full-time national officials.
That practice had been applied to his predecessor, Joe Gormley - later Lord Gormley - and it was determined in 1982 that he was to enjoy the same allowances and facilities.