Martin Whitfield MSP has joined parliamentary colleagues in backing the vital work of the Coalfields Regeneration Trust (CRT) in former coalfield communities across Scotland.

The show of support followed a members’ debate led by Labour colleague Alex Rowley MSP to acknowledge and support the Trust’s work. The debate also gave MSPs a chance to oppose Scottish government proposals to cut CRT’s funding, which it has described as “a devastating blow to communities”, and end the charity’s ability to disburse funds to local groups.

Mr Whitfield spoke in the parliamentary debate to highlight the Trust’s important work in some of the communities he represents in South Scotland, including towns and villages in East Lothian.

These have included Prestonpans, Macmerry, Tranent and Elphinstone, as well as various local community groups, all of which have benefited from the Trust’s Coalfield Communities Futures programme over recent years.

Mr Whitfield also spoke about the benefits community groups such as Harlawhill Day Centre and the Pennypit Community Development Trust have derived from working with the CRT.

Speaking after the debate, Martin Whitfield MSP said:

“I have seen the positive difference the Coalfields Regeneration Trust makes to local communities and organisations in East Lothian and other parts of the South Scotland region. The investment and support it gives to former mining communities helps them to become more sustainable and develop plans for a better future for everyone in the local area.

“Now more than ever we must retain and focus support for former mining communities across Scotland. That’s why I’ve been very clear in my support for CRT on its campaign to reverse the proposed cuts in its funding and restrictions on the way it can support communities.”

Mr Whitfield’s full contribution to the debate can be found here.