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Trust funding cuts hit former mining areas

FORMER mining communities in East Lothian are losing out after a charitable trust’s funding was cut.

Scotland’s former mining communities are faring worse than their counterparts in England and Wales after the Scottish Government cut the Coalfields Regeneration Trust’s budget for this year by 67 per cent from £1.57m to £510,000.

The trust’s first East Lothian grant was awarded to Fisherrow Community Centre in March 2000. Since then the county has received over half a million pounds from the Coalfields Regeneration Trust.

East Lothian MSP Iain Gray (Lab) believes these cuts will cost more money in the long run.

He said: “The grant awards have provided equipment and services for many very worthy causes including people with disabilities, youth groups, family support groups and projects promoting healthy lifestyles.

“These groups fill in gaps in government provision. So if this grants programme is allowed to wither on the vine, it could end up costing the Scottish Government much more in the long run.”

He added: “We all know that money is tight, but I can see no justification for the 67% funding cut that the SNP has made.”

A Scottish Government spokesperson defended the cut to the trust’s budget and defended its support to mining communities.

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