Covid pandemic has 'wiped out' a decade of progress in old industrial Britain

A new report says the Covid-19 pandemic has ‘wiped out’ 10 years of progress in older industrial Britain.

Friday, 22nd January 2021, 12:10 pm

Unemployment in places is now above the levels experienced ten years ago in the wake of the financial crisis.

The report was commissioned by the Coalfields Regeneration Trust and the Industrial Communities Alliance and looked at the impact of the coronavirus crisis on older industrial towns, the former coalfields and the main regional cities of the midlands, north, Scotland and Wales.

Most of these areas, were already lagging behind the rest of the UK in terms of prosperity, well-being and life chances before the pandemic hit.

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Peter McNestry says the government must act now to help these communities before it is too late

Among the issues the report highlighted was that between February and November 2020, unemployment rose by 310,000 in older industrial towns, 100,000 in the former coalfields and 140,000 in the main regional cities.

Confirmed infections and deaths from Covid were also well above the UK average in these areas.

Peter McNestry, chairman of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust, said: “Once again, we are left to try to pick up the pieces as our communities are hit hard by another crisis.

After the major losses of industry throughout the coalfields, then the government’s measures of 10 years of austerity, the effect of the pandemic cannot be ignored.

“The government needs to keep levelling up firmly on the agenda and rather than talk about change, make it happen.

“We urge the government to focus on these forgotten communities before it is too late.”