In recent months, there has been a lot of talk about the ‘cost of living crisis’.

Basic necessities like food have become too expensive, gas bills have become unaffordable almost overnight, and the price of fuel has skyrocketed, leaving many reluctant to travel at all.

When forced to make choices between eating, heating, and leaving the house, it feels for many like it is not just the cost of living, but the cost of surviving, that has become too high.

I am aware of the worry this is causing people locally. Many of you have been in touch to let me know how you are coping and have expressed concerns that making ends meet is beginning to feel impossible.

For pensioners, however, I know the situation is particularly concerning.

Even before this crisis, almost one in five pensioners were living in poverty, with levels rising consistently over the last decade.

Now, recent analysis from The Labour Party shows that 30,000 pensioners across Barnsley Central and Barnsley East will be hundreds of pounds worse off over the next year.

Thanks to rising inflation and the Conservatives’ decision to limit increases to the state pension by 3.1 per cent, a basic state pension for an individual will be worth around £222 less in real terms in this year, compared to the last.

For a couple it will be worth around £355 less, leaving many more vulnerable to poverty as inflation rockets and prices rise.

Protecting the triple lock, however, is not the only promise the Government has broken for pensioners locally.

They have also taken £4.4bn to date from Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, an issue that will affect many people across Barnsley.

Boris Johnson promised to review this Scheme during the 2019 General Election, saying “we will make sure that no … miner signed up to the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme, is out of pocket. We will make sure that all their cash is fully protected and returned, I have looked into it and we will ensure that’s done.”

However, despite having been Prime Minister for 3 years, and being asked directly about his promise, he has taken no action on the issue.

Labour, on the other hand, have committed to reviewing the Scheme in line with the cross-party Parliamentary report recommendations; adjusting the 50/50 surplus sharing arrangement to give more to pensioners, and giving back the £1.2bn reserve fund to pensioners immediately.

Whilst the Conservatives seem determined to go after the same group of people to carry the can, if Labour were in Government, we would also put an immediately reduce gas and electricity bills through a one-off Windfall tax on oil companies.

This plan would save households £200 on their energy bills, with an extra £400 for those who need it most.

By taxing fairly and spending wisely, Labour would grow our economy so that people in Barnsley don’t have to face the worries they are now.

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