Former mining communities ‘still suffering’ 25 years on

Peter McNestry
Peter McNestry
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COMMUNITIES across the Durham coalfield are still suffering 25 years after the closure of the region’s pits, says a new report.

The Coalfields Regeneration Trust commissioned Sheffield Hallam University’s Centre for Regional Economic and Social Research to compare economic and social conditions in the UK’s former mining areas with the rest of the country.

The State of the Coalfields shows deprivation, ill health and unemployment are continuing to blight communities, and concludes there is a “compelling case” for continued support and access to funding.

Coalfields Regeneration Trust chairman Peter McNestry said: “The tough reality for coalfields residents is that these problems will not go away overnight.

“We cannot simply turn our backs on more than five million people. We have worked for 15 years to support these communities and to provide them with access to the resources, practical advice and funding that they need to help themselves.

“We have come some way to improving the situation in the coalfields but this report proves there is still a great deal of work to be done.”

Five smaller mining areas are all showing lower levels of economic and social distress than others and there was substantial growth in employment in other sectors of the economy, up to the start of the recession in 2008.