by Rona Mackay
The Scottish Government is set to boost Scotland’s former mining towns by £1.6million in conjunction with the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.
The funding comes after discussions with the Trust over their business proposal outlining plans for investment in some of country’s most deprived communities and the money will help community groups across those areas.
The cash comes on top of £25million from the Scottish Government’s Town Centre Regeneration Fund which has already been invested in local authority areas with coalfield communities, as well as the new £50million European JESSICA Fund, developed with the European Investment Bank, which could also be used to support regeneration in some former mining towns.
Central Fife SNP MSP Tricia Marwick said the announcement exposed the extent to which the Labour party would go in terms of scaremongering former mining areas since they wrongly claimed the SNP was cutting the funding. She also pointed to how the same Labour politicians had remained silent when the last Labour government took legal action which obstructed compensation for miners suffering from Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Ms Marwick said: “Given that my grandfather was killed in the pits and my father was invalided out of the pits after an accident, it is no surprise that I welcome this funding for the former coalfield areas. It ensures that these areas are given the funding to seek a new economic future.
“However the actions of the Labour party on this issue have been disgraceful as well as hypocritical. It was highly-irresponsible of Labour to scaremonger about this issue — indeed it is a disgusting display of sheer hypocrisy.
“They didn’t shed any tears when the last UK Labour Government took the miners’ union to court to try to stop compensation claims being paid to ex-miners suffering from severe lung disorders, as a result of which nearly 2000 of them died in Scotland before they could get their rightful compensation.
“And as a Fife MSP I know why there are no longer any pits in Kinglassie, Cowdenbeath, Lochgelly, Methil, Bowhill, Kelty, Ballingry, Crosshill, Lumphinnans and Cardenden — because Labour had already closed them down.”