Coalfields Regeneration Trust calls on politicians to support Scottish mining communities
A fifth of children live in low income families in former coalfield areas
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) is calling on politicians from all parties to pledge their support for former mining communities across Scotland to tackle inequalities that still blight many areas.
CRT is a charity formed in 1999 to help former mining communities – which now account for 10 per cent of the Scottish population – recover from the devastating effects of pit closures. It says ongoing political backing is needed to address a range of social and economic issues. Such issues include higher than average unemployment, many children living in poverty and poor health.
Social Value Lab, a Glasgow-based research firm, was commissioned by CRT in 2013 to complete a study into deprivation in the former Scottish coalfields. It is currently working on an update and early findings show such areas lag behind other parts of the country in many ways.
Social Value Lab findings include:
- Continuing deprivation – some 30 per cent of coalfield neighbourhoods are now in the most deprived 20 per cent of Scotland, with key challenges across education, employment, income and health.
- Significant and concentrated deprivation in Fife, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire and West Lothian.
- Coalfield communities have higher rates of 16 to 19-year olds not in education, employment or training and fewer 17 to 21-year olds enrolling in higher education.
- Unemployment is higher in coalfield areas with 12,395 people – 4.3 per cent of the working age population – claiming Universal Credit or Job Seekers Allowance in October 2019, compared to 3.1 per cent across Scotland.
- Rates of child poverty are above average with 17,750 children (21 per cent) living in low income families.
CRT, which is backed by Scottish Government funding, has invested more than £20 million into former mining communities in Scotland over the last 20 years, but it says the Social Value Lab findings show more work is needed.
Nicky Wilson, a trustee for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust in Scotland, said: “Since our organisation was established to assist former coalfield communities they have come a long way, achieved a great deal and we have made a lasting and positive impact.
“However, there is much work to be done to ensure these communities benefit from a better quality of life, improved access to opportunities and services and are as resilient and sustainable as other parts of Scotland.”