A BARNSLEY MP has called on the government to finally come good on a recommendation to put more money in former miners’ pockets - two years after a committee voted in favour of releasing more than £1bn to cash-strapped residents.
Stephanie Peacock, the MP for Barnsley East, spoke out on the second anniversary since the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee made their recommendations to the government on the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS).
The committee recommended that the 50-50 surplus sharing arrangement end, and that the £1.2bn reserve fund be returned to former miners.
According to the MP, the government have pocketed £4.4bn from the arrangement, but his figure is set to rise to £6bn, while former miners receive pensions of just £84 per week.( She told the Chronicle: “It has been two years since the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select Committee made their recommendations on the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme to the government.
“However, despite this, and despite calls from various organisations for action, the government have not made progress towards implementing these measures.
“It is vital that former mineworkers are given the justice they deserve, and I will continue to advocate for change on their behalf.”
Under the current scheme, policy dictates that 50 per cent of any surplus made on pensions goes to the government.
There was no analysis taken before this scheme was introduced, and former mineworkers had no option but to accept this deal, otherwise they would lose their pensions entirely.
Despite the Conservatives’ ‘categorical’ promise in the last general election to act on miners’ pensions, the government has taken no action to implement these recommendations.
“As MP for Barnsley East, I represent many former mineworkers and their families,” Stephanie added.
“With former mineworkers’ pensions being as low as they are, the government’s refusal to right this wrong is incredibly unfair.
“As the cost of living remains high, former miners must be given the money they are entitled to.
“Every step of the way, former miners have had to fight for what is rightfully theirs - justice is long overdue.
“I will continue to call on the government to deliver these changes, both in Parliament and across Barnsley East.”
A spokesperson from the committee urged the government to act.
They said: “The scheme has continued to produce strong returns despite the 2008 financial crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The government must acknowledge that continuation of the arrangements in their current form deserves a review and a better outcome for pensioners should be found.”