‘Government must stop dragging its feet about future of Kellingley Colliery’

MP Yvette Cooper, pictured at Kellingley Colliery.....SH100120360b..31st January 2015 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
MP Yvette Cooper, pictured at Kellingley Colliery.....SH100120360b..31st January 2015 ..Picture by Simon Hulme
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Business secretary Vince Cable will be urged to grant state aid to stop Kellingley Colliery from closure at a meeting today (Monday).

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper will tell Mr Cable that the government must act now to step in and save the doomed pit before a further round of redundancies strikes next month.

UK Coal announced plans to close the colliery in April last year, with the loss of 700 jobs.

A planned workforce buy-out fell through, and in September the company secured a £4m government loan to fund a ‘managed closure’ of mine by the end of this year.

In January UK Coal submitted a plan to the government asking for further funding which would see Kellingley remain open until 2018 or provide further funding for the closure of the business, including the retraining of the miners.

Ms Cooper said: “We have a situation where 200 redundancies are likely to happen at the beginning of April, and the cost of keeping the pit open is going up every day.

“My fear is that the government is dragging its feet deliberately until it’s too late. The government need to support the pit and the workforce.

“The clock is really ticking now - this is the last chance.”

Ms Cooper met NUM representatives at Kellingley on Friday to discuss the details of the redundancies, the latest wave since the closure was first announced.

She added: “These are skilled jobs that will be lost. There is £1bn of investment going into clean coal technology just down the road at Drax. It makes no sense to close Kellingley”.

Speaking in the House of Commons last week, Energy Secretary Matthew Hancock said a decision on state aid would be made before the dissolution of Parliament on March 30.

The government has previously said that any plan must represent value for money for taxpayers.