Government may offer funds for ‘managed close-down’ of colliery

MICHAEL FALLON: Told MPs UK Coal had asked for public funds to help shut its two deep mines.
MICHAEL FALLON: Told MPs UK Coal had asked for public funds to help shut its two deep mines.
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THE Government is considering whether to offer taxpayers’ money to fund the “managed close-down” of one of Yorkshire’s last deep mines, the Business Minister has said ahead of crunch talks with union bosses today.

Michael Fallon told MPs that beleaguered UK Coal has asked for public funds to help shut down its deep mine pits at Kellingley and Thoresby. Union bosses say 1,300 jobs will be lost if the closures go ahead as planned.

In a written statement, Mr Fallon said: “UK Coal is seeking investment from various parties, including the Government, to fund a managed run-down of its two remaining deep mines.

“The Government is considering whether it can contribute to the private sector led proposals which aim to deliver a managed closure of the Thoresby and Kellingley deep mines.

“I hope to be in a position to update the House on the outcome of these negotiations within the next 48 hours.”

In the Commons, Speaker John Bercow rejected calls from Selby and Ainsty MP Nigel Adams for an urgent debate in Parliament to discuss the future of the coal industry in the light of the prospective closures.

“Given the perilous financial situation in which UK Coal finds itself, the House should be granted an urgent debate to consider the avenues that might be open for the industry,” Mr Adams said.