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Closing coal mines has long-lasting negative effect

World Coal,

A newly published report from Sheffield Hallam University claims that the closure of coal mines continues to effect communities long after the doors to the pits are closed.

The report looked in detail at the economic and social conditions in former mining areas in Scotland, England and Wales with the rest of the (non-mining) country.

In all, since the end of the miner’s strike in 1984/5, over a quarter of a million miners have lost their jobs, bringing coal mining almost to an end in the UK.

Former mining areas saw employment rates at least 3% lower than the average in other regions. In Scotland, the report noted that almost 12% of people in ex-coal mining areas report long-term health problems. The unemployment caused by the closure of pits has been put forward as a key reason for any ill health.

In Fife and Falkirk in Scotland, for example, 15.7% of adults are out-of-work and reliant upon benefits, compared to the UK average of 10.9%.

The report notes that In every individual coalfield, the ‘job density’ – the ratio between the number of jobs in the area and the number of working age residents – is below the UK average.

Further, former mining areas see a dearth in the formation of new businesses and enterprises.

“The pit closures may now be receding into history, but the job losses that followed are still a serious economic reality for most mining communities,” said Professor Steve Fothergill.

“The consequences are still too visible in statistics on jobs, unemployment, benefits and ill health,” Fothergill added.

The report notes that across the UK, there are 5.5 million people in former coal mining regions who require continued support and access to funding.

The report will add further fire to the debate over closing the Thoresby and Kellingley coal mines in the UK – which UK Coal claims is a necessity and multiple other groups and analysts refute. 

Written by Sam Dodson

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