BARNSLEY’S ex-miners whose pension pots have been ‘hijacked’ by the government to the tune of billions have been promised an immediate uplift in their payments.

The Labour Party confirmed in its general election manifesto yesterday that it will review the surplus sharing arrangement and return the £1.6bn investment reserve fund to miners.

The proposal will deliver an increase in the weekly pensions that miners receive by at least £14 per week, equating to more than £700 a year.

First introduced in 1952, the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme set out to ensure members received a good pension after years of work in coal mines.

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

The government has taken £4.8bn from the fund since 1994, despite not contributing to it since 1987.

Barnsley South’s Labour candidate, Stephanie Peacock, welcomed the announcement having campaigned in Parliament over Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme ‘scandal’.

“I am incredibly proud to confirm that a Labour government will deliver justice for the thousands of families here in Barnsley South and across the coalfields that have been affected by the injustices of the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme,” she told the Chronicle.

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“I have campaigned on this issue over the last seven years since I was elected in 2017, raising it in Parliament dozens of times.

“I was pleased to secure the cross-party select committee report into the issue, which concluded the ‘government should not be in the business of profiting from miners’ pensions’ and forms the basis of the policy we announced yesterday.

“Implementing this policy will see an immediate uplift in the weekly pensions of thousands of miners across the country.

“It’s absolutely outrageous that billions have been taken when the average miner received a pension of just £84 a week - with widows on a lot less.”

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

Labour candidate for Barnsley North, Dan Jarvis, also welcomed the uplift.

“Barnsley is a community built on coal and I’m so proud to represent former mineworkers,” he added.

“That’s why I’m delighted that Labour will review the unfair surplus sharing arrangements in the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme and transfer the investment reserve fund back to members.

“We are committed to ending the injustice so the mineworkers who powered our country receive a fairer pension.”