Kevin Barron has emphasised that resources are needed if the situation in coalfield communities is ever to change following the release of the damning report detailing the State of coalfields.
Created by Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research, the report, commissioned on behalf of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, paints a bleak picture and highlights the lasting impact that is still all too prevalent more than 25 years after the pit closures of the 1980’s.
With more than 5.5 million people living within the coalfields throughout Britain, deprivation, ill health and poor employment continue to have a lasting impact on residents. With just 50 jobs for every 100 people of working age, 11.7% of people reporting long-term health problems and 14% of adults claiming out-of-work benefits the plight of these former mining towns and villages cannot be ignored.
Kevin Barron, the Rother Valley MP, said: “It is undoubtedly the case that reduced regeneration resources are to the detriment of coalfield areas. More targeted resources are needed to specifically focus on helping these communities.”
Chairman of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Peter McNestry, added: “We welcome Kevin’s support and absolutely agree that additional resource is required if we are to make a difference in these areas.
“We have come a long way in the last 15 years but the recession had a disproportionate effect on the people living and working in the coalfields meaning they continue to need our support, guidance and funding.
“The coalfields simply want the opportunity to get back on their feet. An entire industry ceased to exist, which employed directly and indirectly most of the people living within these areas. We cannot just turn our backs and walk away. These towns and villages could thrive and make a positive contribution to the country if we give them the chance.”
Since 2011, The Coalfields Regeneration Trust has created and safeguarded 911 jobs and secured full or part-time employment for a further 2,921 people living within the coalfields communities throughout England.
Since it was established some 15 years ago, programmes delivered by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust have benefited hundreds of thousands of people in the British coalfields, including helping more than 21,000 people into work and over 187,000 to gain qualifications and new skills.
For more information about the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the programmes that it has available for individuals, community groups and commercial organisations please visit www.coalfields-regen.org.uk.