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Coalfields Task Force: Report

Volume 590: debated on Thursday 18 June 1998

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asked Her Majesty's Government:When they intend to publish the Coalfields Task Force's report. [HL2362]

We warmly welcome the publication today of the Coalfields Task Force's excellent report, Making the Difference: A New Start for England's Coalfield Communities. Copies of the report will be placed in the House Libraries.Last year, we gave a commitment to help regenerate communities devastated by pit closures. We wanted to ensure that every option open to us was explored so that those communities could get the help and support that they need and deserve. That is why we set up the Coalfields Task Force last October, under the chairmanship of Paula Hay-Plumb. We want to thank Paula and her team for their hard work and dedication in producing their excellent report.The task force's report is comprehensive in its approach. It includes many promising practical proposals. We want to ensure that our response is equally comprehensive, and that careful consideration is given to the detail of all the recommendations. We will give our initial response at the conference to be held at Ollerton Miners Welfare, North Nottinghamshire, on Monday 13 July. We will announce a detailed programme of action for the former coalfield communities in the autumn.We all agree that we must redress the decline of our former coalfields communities. Government cannot do this alone. All partners—central and local government, the voluntary and private sectors, and the communities themselves—must make a firm long-term commitment if we are to make the difference.