The “immense economic blow” of pit closures in Scotland must be fully debated in the Scottish Parliament, MSP Katy Clark said this week as the 40th anniversary of the miners’ strike draws closer.

March will mark 40 years since the strike formally begun in Scotland.

Thousands of miners took action against a programme of pit closures and pay restraint imposed by the Conservative government led by the then Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher.

The Scottish Government announced in 2020 that it was to pardon hundreds of men convicted of offences during the strike following an independent review of the dispute.

But Scottish Labour MSP Katy Clark says the scars still run deep

Ms Clark, who represents the West Scotland region, said: “Many communities have never recovered from the immense economic blow of the pit closures of the 1980s.

“The economic vandalism inflicted during this period by Thatcher’s administration continues to shape our society today.

"She did not only take on the National Union of Mineworkers – she took on the whole organised working class.

Ardrossan and Saltcoats Herald: Cumnock miners during the dispute

“It is vital that we as a parliament reflect on this momentous period in our history, as well as pay tribute to the families and communities that suffered and fought for one another. It is only by addressing this period that we learn lessons for the future.

“I have called on ministers to arrange a full debate on Scottish Government time."

Hundreds of miners were arrested during the dispute, with more than 200 sacked as a result. This meant they lost out on wages, pensions and redundancy payments, as well as suffering the injury and hurt of being branded criminals for defending their livelihoods and communities.

Pits across Ayrshire - now long gone - were at the heart of the strike, which also saw thousands of police and miners clash at the Hunterston ore terminal in North Ayrshire, where coal was shipped in from overseas during the dispute.

The Miners’ Strike (Pardons) (Scotland) Bill, published at the end of 2021, followed an independent review, led by John Scott QC, into the impact of policing on Scottish communities during the 1984-85 strike.

The review recommended the Scottish Government introduce legislation to pardon miners convicted for certain matters related to the strike, subject to establishing suitable criteria.

Labour MSPs Pam Duncan-Glancy and Richard Leonard sought to amend the Bill to extend the pardon to family members, friends and all those standing in solidarity with them, and to incidents in communities, as well as to establish a mechanism for financial redress.