Scots political duo demand restoration of slashed Coalfields funding

A FIFE councillor and an MSP have written to the Scottish Government to demand the restoration of funding for former coalfield regeneration.

The funding provided to the Coalfields Regeneration Trust‘s (CRT) budget has been cut by 60%.

Councillor Graeme Downie for Labour, West Fife & Coastal Villages and Alex Rowley MSP for Labour, Mid-Scotland & Fife have written to Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, Cabinet Secretary for Social Justice.

The pair urged Ms. Somerville – who is also the local MSP for Dunfermline, which encompasses West Fife – to restore £100k of funding to the CRT which has been cut this year.

(L-R) Labour Councillor Graeme Downie with MSP Alex Rowley.
(L-R) Graeme Downie and Alex Rowley are calling for the restoration of the funding for the CRT budget.

Cllr. Downie and Mr. Rowley are concerned the funding cut will impact vital programmes in former coal-mining areas of West Fife and across the Kingdom. 

These projects currently include regeneration of the local area, increasing the capacity of local groups and charities and the Game On project which uses football to improve the health and wellbeing of local communities. 

The latest cut in grant from the Scottish Government equates to £750k to £650k in cash terms, comes on top of a freeze since 2011, meaning CRT has seen a real terms reduction of over £400k or almost 60% of their total budget in the last 12 years.

Councillor Graeme Downie said: “The Coalfields Regeneration Trust are a vital part of the local community in the villages of West Fife and across the rest of the Kingdom of Fife.”

“These further savage cuts by the SNP will have a huge impact on communities across West Fife and elsewhere around Dunfermline and beyond.”

“The SNP have no excuse for taking this action now having already frozen their contribution for over a decade.”

“Shirley-Anne Somerville must reverse this decision and restore the £100k of funding for next year immediately.”

“If she does not she will be hurting people within her own constituency as well as in other parts of Fife.”

Alex Rowley MSP, said: “In the midst of the worst cost-of-living crisis in decades and local authority budget cuts that are pressuring public services to breaking point, we need the work of organisations such as the Coalfields Regeneration Trust now more than ever.”

“Just last year, Shirley-Anne Somerville was thanking the Coalfields Regeneration Trust at the SNP conference for the outstanding work they do in our constituency– if she is truly grateful, she will reverse the decision to cut £100k from their budget, which will allow them to continue their vital work.”

“The Coalfields Regeneration Trust has a proven track record and is uniquely placed to support regeneration at a local level across the former coalfield communities of Fife – we must do all that we can to ensure a secure future for this great organisation.”

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