South Yorkshire has the highest number of members of a controversial pension scheme in the UK, John has discovered.
The Mineworkers Pension Scheme (MPS) has 130,047 members with one in five – 27,051 – living in and around South Yorkshire.
The new figures came from a request from John to the House of Commons Library. They also show there are 6,710 members 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.
The MPS is subject to a ‘surplus sharing arrangement’ which means any surplus is shared 50:50 between the government and members.
John and other Labour MPs have been fighting for years for the split to be changed with more money going to the miners. The average pension is just £84 a week.
He said: “These new figures show what a difference it would make in our area if the Government listened and gave miners and their families a decent deal.
“They deserve better than £84 a week after the very tough job they did underground to keep our country going.
“It is time for the government to do what is right and cut their share so more pension support goes to the mineworkers.
“Ministers should at least use the surplus to help the poorest pensioners and increase investment in coalfield communities.”
John also said he was determined to hold the Prime Minister to his word, after he promised during the General Election campaign in 2019 that miners would get their fair share.
Boris Johnson’s comments came just weeks after the Minister responsible, Kwasi Kwarteng MP, refused Mr Healey’s calls for a review and said the 50:50 arrangement would stay.
The MP has written again to Mr Kwarteng setting out the new information and calling, on behalf of the thousands of aging miners in South Yorkshire, for the arrangement to be changed.