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Northern Midlands Coalfields

Volume 461: debated on Wednesday 20 June 2007

14. To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will make a statement on progress on the regeneration of the Northern Midlands coalfields. (143846)

I am very proud of the progress that has been made over the past 10 years revitalising the former English coalfields, including those of the Northern Midlands. When we came into power in 1997, these communities had suffered and been ignored for years.

It was desperately important to raise aspirations in these communities through regeneration, education and job creation.

English Partnership’s Coalfield Programme, the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the Coalfields Enterprise Fund are delivering real change with combined budgets of over half a billion pounds.

I would like to pay tribute to three people who have been instrumental in bringing the coalfield communities back to life—Paula Hay-Plumb of English Partnerships, Peter McNestry of the Coalfield Regeneration Trust, and Bill Flanagan of the Coalfield Communities Campaign.

There are now thousands more jobs, improved housing and better education.

These communities are being brought back to life, and I am proud of what we have achieved.