Economic Development (Barnsley)
Angela Smith (Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons; Penistone and Stocksbridge, Labour)
I completely agree with my hon. Friend. Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, the north-east, south Wales and Kent are all areas where the withdrawal of the UK from mining coal and from allowing coal to make a contribution to the UK national economy has had a massive impact that has never been fully appreciated down here. The task of rebuilding those areas has also never been fully appreciated. Let us face it, one of the difficulties is that the coal industry was built around small villages. It is not easy to replicate an economic activity that is built around a series of small villages. It is easy to do so in Sheffield, where there are huge tracts of land and an economic centre to build on, but Barnsley is 70% rural, as I am sure my hon. Friend’s constituency is.