THE government has pocketed a further £420m since a report into the controversial Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme was published in 2021 - prompting a local MP to call for more to be done to support those losing out.

First introduced in 1952, the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme (MPS) was a pension scheme for coal miners, to ensure they received a good pension after years of work in the coal mines.

The rules of the scheme set out certain benefits payable to the members and prior to April 1975, members paid a flat-rate contribution of up to 20p per week.

At the end of 1994, following privatisation, the government took over the role as guarantor for the MPS from British Coal.

Arrangements were subsequently put in place whereby the government guaranteed that the members of the MPS would always receive the benefits they had earned up to that date and that, in future, those benefits would rise annually in line with inflation.

The Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Select (BEIS) Committee recommended that a 50-50 surplus sharing arrangement end, and that the £1.2bn reserve fund be returned to former miners in 2021.

The government have taken £4.8bn from the MPS to date, with the final figure set to rise to over £6bn.

Despite the cross-party recommendations in 2021, the government has still continued to profit from mineworkers’ pensions - and has taken £420m extra during the time frame.

Meanwhile, the average miner is on a weekly pension of just £84, with widows on a lot less, whilst the government continues to make money from the scheme.

Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock has long been campaigning for more support for cash-strapped local miners who have been left with paltry pensions.

She met with Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Bim Afolami MP, to discuss the scheme in January - but has admitted her disappointment at the latest revelations.

“The government simply shouldn’t be in the business of profiting from miners’ pensions,” she said.

“The news that the government has taken a further £420m from the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme since 2021 is unacceptable.

“I was pleased to secure the cross party report into the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme.

“I have raised the issue in Parliament several times, I met the minister responsible recently, and I will continue to campaign on the issue to deliver justice on miners’ pensions.”

Ms Peacock and the Labour Party have called for a ‘comprehensive revision’ of the current arrangements.

A spokesperson for the party said: “The government should not be in the business of profiting from the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme.

“There has been deep unfairness and injustice of the Conservative government’s approach to the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme in which there was no fair basis for the original surplus sharing arrangements.

“The Conservative government has broken their promise and failed to deliver the justice to which miners are entitled to which is long overdue.

“Labour believes there must be a comprehensive revision of the arrangements to make sure that miners get the fair share of the money to which they are entitled.”