Ministers consider final bid to keep Kellingley pit open

MP Yvette Cooper at Kellingley Colliery. Picture by Simon Hulme
MP Yvette Cooper at Kellingley Colliery. Picture by Simon Hulme
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THE BUSINESS Secretary has said he will decide this week the fate of hundreds of Yorkshire miners as he considers state support for an under threat colliery.

Vince Cable is coming under pressure to step in with support for Kellingley Colliery after UK Coal announced plans to close one of the last remaining deep mining pits in the country in April this year.

Marchers bid to save  Kellingley Colliery, last January. Picture by Simon Hulme

Marchers bid to save Kellingley Colliery, last January. Picture by Simon Hulme

The North Yorkshire mine employs around 700 people and remains, its supporters say, a profitable pit.

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper has met with Mr Cable to demand he sets out Government intervention to save the jobs.

The Department for Business said it had received a bid to extend the mine’s life and was considering options ahead of a statement this week.

Mrs Cooper used her meeting with the Business Secretary to stress the need for an immediate decision after workers spent the last 12 months not knowing what will happen after April.

The shadow Home Secretary said: “I met with Secretary of State Vince Cable to urge the Government to act to keep Kellingley open before it’s too late. There are 500 skilled jobs at stake here, with around 200 set to go in the next couple of weeks if we don’t get support

“And with £1bn of investment going into clean coal technology just down the road at Drax, the Government should be pulling out the stops to try to keep Kellingley open so Drax isn’t just dependent on imported coal.”

A Government spokesman said: “We have already given UK Coal a £4m loan to deliver its managed closure plan.

“We have now received a plan from the company to extend the life of the mine further and will look carefully at their proposal, bearing in mind that we must make sure that taxpayers receive value for money and that the sum is affordable.

“When we talk about state aid we are referring to taxpayers money and not a separate pot in Brussels that we can dip into. The European Commission considers what support states can give to companies but does not provide the funding for that support.”