Tens of thousands of jobs lost through the closure of coal mines have still not been replaced, according to new research.
The figures come on the 20th anniversary of the end of the bitter, year-long miners’ strike of 1984 to 1985.
Employment in former mining areas such as South Wales is still lagging badly behind other regions and many of the new jobs offer lower pay, it is claimed.
Higher levels of ill health are found among people in former pit towns, where there are five times as many adults of working age claiming incapacity benefit as opposed to jobseeker’s allowance, according to the report.
Researchers at Sheffield Hallam University said there is a recovery under way, but 90,000 coal jobs have still to be replaced.
In 1981 the coal industry employed 229,000 workers in England and Wales but the figure has since fallen to just 7,000.