PM Boris Johnson ‘lied’ about miners pensions, claims South Yorkshire MP
Dearne Valley’s MP John Healey has accused the Prime Minister of breaking an election promise to miners.
He has written to Boris Johnson in a last-ditch attempt to get him to stick to a pledge made in November 2019 during the General Election campaign.
Mr Johnson made a ‘categorical’ pledge that miners would get their ‘fair share’ from the Mineworkers Pension Scheme during his campaign in Mansfield in 2019.
Mr Johnson told Andrew Topping, former Mansfield Chad reporter: “I want to tell the Mansfield Chad categorically that we will make sure that no Mansfield miner, or any other miner signed up to the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, is out of pocket.”
Mr Healey has campaigned for changes to the MPS and its controversial ‘surplus-sharing arrangement’ which means any surplus is shared 50:50 between the government and members.
Mr Healey told the Prime Minister in the letter: “Many miners took your comments to mean there would be changes to the surplus sharing arrangement.
“If the government has no plans to change the scheme then you will have broken this firm promise you gave to miners and their families.
“It is time for the government to do what is right and take a reduced share of the surplus to allow more pension support for the mineworkers and their families.”
Last year Mr Healey found that South Yorkshire has the highest number of members of the MPS in the UK. One in five members – more than 27,000 – live in and around South Yorkshire, and 6,710 in and around the Wentworth & Dearne constituency alone – more than in the whole of the North West region or in the four southernmost English regions combined.
He and other Labour MPs want more money to go to the miners, who take an average pension of just £84 a week.
He wrote twice to the Energy Minister, Kwasi Kwarteng, in Autumn last year, calling again for a review of the scheme and seeking clarification on the Prime Minister’s pledge.
Mr Kwarteng said he believed the Prime Minister was referring to the government’s commitment to ensure all members “receive their full entitlement” and went on to list features of the scheme that were in place in 2019 before the General Election.
In these confusing and worrying times, local journalism is more vital than ever. Thanks to everyone who helps us ask the questions that matter by taking out a digital subscription or buying a paper. We stand together. Nancy Fielder, editor.