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UK government should keep coal mines open

World Coal,

Trades Union Congress (TUC) General Secretary, Frances O’Grady, has released the following statement in response to the government’s reaction to UK Coal’s announcement of its planned coal mine closures:

Job dependencies

“There is nothing stopping the government from applying to Europe for permission to use state aid to save Kellingley and Thoresby – and the thousands of jobs in North Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire which depend on these mines staying open.

Delay pit closures

“The government says that any plans to delay the pit closures must ‘show good value for money’ but it will cost more to shut both mines than it will do to keep them open. Just £60 million would secure the future of several thousand jobs, the communities surrounding the mines and the British coal industry.

Foreign coal imports

“If ministers do nothing and allow the mines to close, the UK will become even more reliant on foreign, mostly Russian, coal imports, and that means a worryingly insecure future for the UK’s energy supply. Shutting the pits will also jeopardise any chance the UK has of becoming a significant player in the emerging, multi-billion pound market for carbon capture and storage technology.”

Use taxpayers’ money?

The TUC and the coal unions travelled to Brussels to seek clarification regarding claims made by the Department for Energy and Climate Change that it is not possible for taxpayers’ money to be used for a UK Coal survival plan. The European Commission explained that there were no barriers to the UK government applying to use state aid to save the mines.

Adapted from press release by Katie Woodward

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