A RALLYING cry urging members of a coalfield community to reignite the spirit of the Miners’ Strike and march in support of one of Yorkshire’s last deep pit mines has been made by a campaigning MP.
Labour’s shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, whose Pontefract constituency neighbours Kellingley Colliery, will host a rally and march in support of the pit and its workers this Saturday.
In September, UK Coal secured a £4m Government loan to fund the closure of mine by the end of the year, with more than 700 job losses. But campaigners, including Ms Cooper and the National Union of Mineworkers have urged the Government to keep the mine, which the NUM says has coal reserves to last 20 years, open long term by supporting private and European investment.
Ms Cooper accused the Government of “dragging its feet trying to kill of the pit by stealth,” as the cost of keeping Kellingley open goes up each week and workers prepare for “major redundancies” in April.
“It’s 30 years this year since the end of the Strike, but round here people haven’t forgotten the way we stand together when things are looking tough,” She said.
“The Government should be working flat out with UK Coal, private investors, the power companies and Europe to get a package in place including state aid to keep the pit open.”
The rally will include a speech by Dennis Skinner and members of LGSM and the Dulais mining community, who were featured in the film Pride, which will also be screened.
Last week UK Coal submitted a plan asking the Government for further funding, to either see Kellingley remain open until 2018, or provide further funding for the closure of the business by the end of the year.
A Government spokesman said any plan must ensure that taxpayers receive value for money.
He added: “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 Member States can give to companies but does not provide the funding for that support.”