Thoresby colliery to stay open until 2015

The NUM has told ITV that pits at Kellingley and Thoresby will stay open until 2015 with £10million of Government support.

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Government confirm UK Coal funding

As expected, the government have confirmed this morning that they will help keep Kellingley and Thoresby mines open for another eighteen months.

Business Minister Michael Fallon Credit: Press Association

In a statement to parliament, the business minister Michael Fallon said: "The taxpayer would face significant losses and liabilities in the event of an immediate insolvency of UK Coal, principally relating to redundancy and unpaid tax liabilities.

"Considering this, the taxpayer is better served by supporting a managed closure of the mines.

"It is the Government’s intention, in principle, to participate in the private sector led consortium created to avoid the immediate insolvency of UK Coal."

But so far the government aren't pledging the extra funding wanted by the unions to keep the mines going until 2018.

Mr Fallon continued: "There is no value for money case for a level of investment that would keep the deep mines open beyond this managed wind-down period to Autumn 2015.

"Private sector investors who wish to put in the substantial investment that would be needed to maintain the mines beyond Autumn 2015 without government support remain free to do so."


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Veteran Labour MP blasts Government pit policy

Government proposals for Britain's deep-pit coal mining industry are "a load of crap", a veteran Labour MP said today.

Labour MP Dennis Skinner Credit: Press Association

Dennis Skinner urged the coalition to help protect miners at risk of losing their jobs, as he warned that the closure of two of the final three pits will reduce the industry to a "minuscule, small business".

Ministers have agreed a £10 million loan, alongside £10 million from the private sector, to support the "managed closure" of the mines at Kellingley and Thoresby.

The Government decided there is no case for investment to keep the sites open in the long term.

The UK Coal-operated sites employ 1,300 people and are to be wound down by autumn 2015.

Speaking during business questions, former miner Mr Skinner (Bolsover) told Business Minister Matthew Hancock: "Are you aware that one of the smallest businesses in Britain now is the mining industry?

"There are three pits left - 1,300 miners are due to be sacked at two of those pits. That will make it a minuscule, small business.

"And instead of helping those pits to stay open and give them tax breaks like they do the oil companies, what has this Government done to the small business?

"Just stolen £700 million out of the mineworkers' pension fund this February. What a story to tell those miners. Come on, help them out."

Mr Hancock replied: "Well, this morning we announced a package of support for the mining industry and I'm sure you will want to go look at that before raising any further questions."

Mr Skinner, who was sitting down, replied: "I've read it. It's a load of crap."

  1. Calendar

Kellingley and Thoresby to stay open to 2015

The NUM has told Calendar pits at Kellingley and Thoresby will stay open until 2015 with £10million of Government support.

Up to 600 jobs at risk at Thoresby colliery

Nottinghamshire's Thoresby colliery will close by the end of next year at the latest, as part of a phased scaling-down of mines by UK Coal.

The company - the UK's largest coal producer - currently employs 2,000 people across the country, including around 600 at Thoresby.

A miner at work at Thoresby colliery in November last year Credit: Joe Giddens/PA

It is currently in talks for an emergency cash injection of between £10 million and £20 million from the government and the private sector to continue operating until the end of 2015.

It comes after competition from cheap imported coal put pressure on business.

A spokesman for the firm said cutbacks would be made even if the emergency cash is secured.

We have started today consultations with the unions on looking at the way forward - that is, looking at reducing numbers in the coming months.

We are looking to secure the best outcome possible.


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