THE Labour Party has outlined a programme which it says will provide support to former coalfield communities

The party says if in government, it will create more than 50,000 jobs across the north west, including 1,345 in St Helens.

Labour says of the 52,282, nearly 30,000 of these jobs would be "good, unionised construction jobs" of which there would be around 750 in St Helens.

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The party says there would also be nearly 25,000 jobs in supply chains, including nearly 600 in St Helens.

The issue of regeneration of former mining communities has been an ongoing one over recent years and decades.

In 1999, The Coalfields Regeneration Trust was launched and has supported people through helping secure or find jobs, improving skills and qualifications and providing access to health-boosting activities.

Labour says its plan will target the major social problems facing those areas – jobs, pay, social security and education, skills and training – as well as ending pension injustice for former miners, the party says.

It also made a pledge to end pension injustice for former miners, which was announced in the party's manifesto last week. This included an end the injustice of the state taking 50 per cent of the surplus in the mineworkers’ Pension Scheme; new sharing arrangements so that 10 per cent goes to government and 90 per cent stays with scheme members. This new sharing arrangement would also apply to the British Coal Staff Superannuation Scheme.

Jon Trickett, Labour’s Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office, said: "For more than a century, coal mining communities helped make our country one of the wealthiest in the world.

"But they have been held back for the last 40 years. People are angry and they have every right to be. The north-south divide is felt especially strongly here.

"This report asks some tough questions on behalf of our communities. The answer must be to start with thousands of new, permanent unionised jobs which give us a future. We need proper apprenticeships too.

“This is exactly what Labour will do. It is what our new industrial revolution will be about. We will also build a greener economy to make the country cleaner for this generation and the next.

“The miners and their families stood by our country for more than a century. Labour will stand by them now. It is the right thing to do.”

Conor McGinn, Labour general election candidate for St Helens North, added: “We have a proud history of mining in St Helens, Newton and across Lancashire. But the legacy of the closure of the pits still affects our community today, with inequalities in health and education, higher levels of unemployment and a continuing lack of investment in communities.

“As chair of the All Party Group on Coalfield Communities in the last Parliament, I pressed all the parties to adopt our 10-Point Plan to transform the future of the coalfield communities in their manifestos.

"I’m glad that Labour has come forward with this commitment, and, alongside a pledge to finally ensure pension justice for former mineworkers’, it shows that our priority in government will be to support working class communities and people.”