LONDON (Reuters) – Mine closures and employment losses have left deep economic, social and political scars on the main coal-producing regions of the United States and the United Kingdom.
Britain’s former coal mining communities remain among the most deprived in the country decades after the pits closed as they have struggled to attract new industries.
Perhaps as a result, there was a close correlation between former coalfields and some of the highest percentage votes for Leave in the 2016 Brexit referendum. In the United States, the eastern coal regions have above well above average poverty rates and worse outcomes for health and mortality.
Coal communities voted overwhelmingly for candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election, in part because he promised to bring back coal jobs. Former mining communities in the United Kingdom and the United States tend to blame politicians for the destruction of their industries and economies.
U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (1979-1990) and U.S. President Barack Obama (2009-2017) are often held responsible for job losses and their political parties remain deeply unpopular in coal country.