Northumberland MP stands up for the future of Working Class areas
Ian Lavery MP, Chair of the Labour Party and Member of Parliament serving his Home area of Wansbeck in Northumberland, has shown his support for the 5.5m people living in former mining towns and villages around the UK. Mr. Lavery took the time out of his schedule to sign a dedicated pledge book, which was presented by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, during the Labour Party Conference.
The pledge, which reads: “I pledge my support to the work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust in delivering against its objectives to make a lasting and positive impact on the employment, skills and health of residents in former mining towns and villages”, asked MPs to sign their own specially printed page and to give their commitment to the regeneration of the coalfield communities.
Ian Lavery, himself an ex-miner comments: “In Northumberland 24% of residents have no skills or qualifications, leaving people to look for jobs that do not allow them to reach their full potential. We have to tackle this and other issues that have a disproportionate impact on former mining towns and villages head-on. That is why working alongside organisations like the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and offering my support means that we can make changes that will benefit our residents now and for future generations.”
Head of Operations (England) for the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Andy Lock comments: “Our aim for Conference was to engage with more MPs than ever before. We would like to thank Ian Lavery for taking the time to visit our stand and importantly to showing their ongoing support for the coalfields.
“The statistics still make for difficult reading but we know if we come together to combine our resources we can continue to tackle the ongoing issues, which typically focus on employment, skills and health.”
The Coalfields Regeneration Trust also took the chance to launch its Coalfield Investment Fund proposition to Government and minsters during the event where it made the case for a contribution of £30m to be combined with its own investment of £10m to establish the £40m fund. This will be used to develop new industrial space for SME’s in former mining areas and on completion bring an estimated 1,000 jobs to these communities.
As a result of the investment, over a 25-year period, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust will produce £50m in sustainable income which will be used to support social impact projects creating a wellbeing value of £500m to the communities and a lasting legacy for the next generation.
The annual income stream of £2m will be directed into social impact projects in the communities, typically achieving the following outcomes; 400 people will be helped back into work; 800 people supported into volunteering; 5,000 people assisted with developing new skills and 8,000 people taking part in activities that improve health.
Chief Executive of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, Gary Ellis comments: “Our proposal offers Government a unique opportunity to invest in improving the social wellbeing of the former coalfield communities. It will deliver sustainable returns, providing exceptional indirect benefits including £17
per £1 invested. In addition, this will also result in £90 million of direct benefits from the government’s £30 million contribution.
“I would like to take this opportunity to thank Ian Lavery and all other MPs who signed our pledge book. It gives us a renewed focus and confidence that we can and will make a lasting and positive contribution to these communities that should not be forgotten.”
For further details about the ‘ask’ document and the work that the Coalfields Regeneration Trust is involved with please visit www.coalfields-regen.org.uk.