SCARS in Barnsley’s former coalfield communities which remain 40 years after the miners’ strike are still impacting residents’ quality of life, a ground-breaking inquiry has concluded.

‘The State of the Coalfields 2024’ is the third report commissioned by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, following studies in 2014 and 2019.

It found that although there has been job growth in the former coalfields such as Grimethorpe, the rate of growth has been far slower than in villages and towns which do not have a mining legacy.

Grimethorpe, which possessed one of the deepest pits in Britain, saw 44 per cent of its residents lose their jobs and was once labelled as the country’s poorest village.

The most recent figures show that in larger settlements such as Grimethorpe and Royston, there are only 57 employee jobs for every 100 residents of working age, compared to a national average of 73 jobs per 100, and 88 per 100 in nearby cities.

This leaves a population in the former coalfields which is generally older and in poorer health, with seven per cent of all residents saying their health is ‘bad or very bad’ and more than ten per cent claiming disability benefits.

Linda McAvan, chair of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “We are seeing positive steps towards improving the economy in the former coalfields, however it is concerning that our progress is slower than in other parts of the country.

“We know that the issues affecting coalfield communities around low quality jobs, lower wages and poor health can be tackled and the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is playing its part in addressing these issues.

“We are keen to work with political decision-makers at all levels so that we can enable our communities to reach their full potential.”

The report finds that if brought together the former coalfields would likely be the most deprived region in the UK, therefore, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is calling on governments across the UK and leaders in coalfield communities to do more to support economic growth in former coalfield communities to enable these areas to reach their full potential.

Barnsley East MP Stephanie Peacock added: “Coalfield communities were impacted and closures decimated the industry that Barnsley was built on.

“The effects are still felt today, both through the economy and through the thousands of retired miners suffering ill health as a result of their work.

“For too long, our coalfield communities have been left behind, without the opportunity to access the employment we need.

“Our local area was devastated by the closure of the pits, and there has not been sufficient action to replace the high-quality, skilled employment that mining offered.

“The Coalfields Regeneration Trust found that there were only 57 jobs per 100 people of working age in former coalfields, in comparison to London, where there are 93 jobs available per 100 people of working age.

“Barnsley deserves better, and I have been pleased to campaign on some of the issues that affect mining communities, including miners’ health, miners’ pensions and justice for Orgreave.

“I urge the government to pay serious attention to the coalfields 2024 report.

“Thank you to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust for all their efforts to produce this important work.”(