Communities in South Yorkshire’s coalfield areas are still struggling economically 30 years after the miners’ strike, new research claims.
A major new study carried out by researchers from Sheffield Hallam University has said mining communities across the country, including in South Yorkshire and North Derbyshire, are dealing with the impact of the loss of more than 200,000 coal jobs in the last 30 years.
The report, commissioned by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, found places such as Barnsley, Rotherham, Doncaster, and in Chesterfield are recording higher levels of ill-health and unemployment and a lower number of available jobs than the national average.
The report found affected areas have a lower number of available jobs than the national average of 67 per 100 residents of working age. In Yorkshire there are just 55 jobs per 100 people and, in North Derbyshire, 61.
The study also found the number of people with health problems was higher than normal.
While 5.6 per cent of people across the country report having a bad or very bad level of general health, in the coalfield areas of Yorkshire the average was 7.4 per cent, and in North Derbyshire it was 7.6 per cent.
It also found almost half the community organisations in Barnsley, Rotherham and Doncaster reported having insufficient funds to carry out their work.
Professor Steve Fothergill from the university, and the leader of the research, said: “The miners’ strike of 1984/85 may now be receding into history but the job losses that followed in its wake are still part of the everyday economic reality of most mining communities. The consequences are still all too visible in statistics on jobs, unemployment, welfare benefits and health.”
Peter McNestry, chairman of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, added: “The tough reality for coalfields residents is that these problems will not go away overnight. We have come some way in improving the situation but there is still a great deal of work to be done.”