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TUC: UK government made wrong move over coal

World Coal,

According to the TUC, the government’s refusal to fund a long-term rescue plan to help secure the future of the UK’s coal mining industry will cost 2000 jobs and force the country to rely on overseas energy suppliers.

Mines under threat

Coal unions welcomed the announcement from Energy Minister Michael Fallon that approximately three-quarters of the jobs at two mines under threat – Thoresby in Nottinghamshire and Kellingley in North Yorkshire – would be secure for another year.

However, the four unions – the NUM, BACM-TEAM, NACODS and GMB – expressed disappointment at the decision to axe 340 jobs immediately, as well as the government’s refusal to apply to Europe for permission to use state aid to keep the mines open until at least 2018.


Commenting on the announcement, TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, said:

“Faced with the choice between closing two of the UK’s three remaining coal mines next year or of fighting for their future, the government has gone for the short-term option and taken the easy way out.

“UK Coal is clearly in trouble. Miners and their families will be relieved to learn that ministers have avoided UK Coal’s impending insolvency by agreeing the terms of a repayable, fixed term, commercial loan. But that will come as small comfort to the 340 workers whose jobs disappear next month.

Rescue plan

“But there is a far better, socially just alternative. Unions have presented the government with the case for a sensible rescue plan for the mines that would cost less than the final bill for closing Thoresby and Kellingley in May 2015.

“All ministers have to do is apply to Europe to use £60 million of taxpayers’ money in state aid to protect the 2000 jobs at risk, support the UK’s fledgling carbon capture and storage (CCS) industry using UK coal, and strengthen our energy security, rather than increase our dependency on Russian coal imports.

UK energy supply

“Coal production has a future with CCS, but only if ministers are prepared to give the industry a fighting chance. Unions will continue to make the case for coal – a UK energy supply that is secure, cheap and one which means our energy bills are less susceptible to price fluctuations in the international energy market.”


Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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