Decision on future of Kellingley Colliery expected ‘by Thursday’

A march was held through Knottingley in January
A march was held through Knottingley in January

Business secretary Vince Cable has said he will decide by Thursday whether to grant state aid and save Kellingley Colliery from closure.

Mr Cable met Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper yesterday (Monday) as he considers whether to grant funding to extend the life of the pit until 2018.

The workforce and community have done all they can ... It’s now time for the government to do its bit

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper

Uk Coal announced plans in April to close the colliery, 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: “I met Vince Cable and urged him and the government to act immediately to keep Kellingley open before it’s too late. Two hundred redundancies are planned for the first week in April so if we don’t act now it’ll be too late.

“The workforce, UK Coal and the local community have done all they can to extend the life of the pit. It’s now time for the government to do its bit and intervene.

“The business secretary promised me that there will be an answer to the state aid applications by Thursday.”

A government spokesman said: “We have already given UK Coal a £4m loan to deliver its managed closure plan.

“We have now received a plan from the company to extend the life of the mine further and will look carefully at their proposal, bearing in mind that we must make sure that taxpayers receive value for money and that the sum is affordable.

“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 states can give to companies but does not provide the funding for that support.”