Fight against closure of Kellingley Colliery to be stepped up

MP Yvette Cooper at the Kellingley Club to launch the 'Rally for Kellingley' campaign. They want to step up their campaign now that the application for state aid to keep the pit open for longer has gone. She is with Keith Hartshorne / Tommy Mills / Chris Kitchen / Paul Kidger / David Nicholson / Keith Poulson. (P551A502)
MP Yvette Cooper at the Kellingley Club to launch the 'Rally for Kellingley' campaign. They want to step up their campaign now that the application for state aid to keep the pit open for longer has gone. She is with Keith Hartshorne / Tommy Mills / Chris Kitchen / Paul Kidger / David Nicholson / Keith Poulson. (P551A502)
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Miners at troubled Kellingley Colliery will hold a rally later this month as they continue to fight against the pit’s closure.

Members of Kellingley’s National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) branch will join miners from Thoresby and Hatfield pits, which are also facing closure, to stage the rally on Saturday, January 31.

Keith Hartshorne, Kellingley NUM delegate, said the event aimed to put pressure on the government to grant funding to keep the pit open until the end of 2018.

He added: “ By the time we hold the rally the state aid application will have been submitted to the government.

“So we just want to keep the campaign going and make sure there are no delays in getting a response from the government.

“They seemed to have delayed decisions since the closure was first announced and every day that goes by the cost of saving the pit goes up.”

Pontefract and Castleford MP Yvette Cooper and MP Dennis Skinner will also join the day of action.

The campaigners will march from Knottingley Town Hall, Hill Top, to the rally at Kellingley Miners’ Welfare Club, Marine Villa Road.

Mr Hartshorne added: “We want to stress that this is not just an NUM or miners’ march.

“The closure of the pit will affect all of Knottingley and the wider area so the march and rally is open to anyone to join in.”

Ms Cooper said: “If the government doesn’t act fast it will be too late.

“The cost of keeping Kellingley open is going up week after week yet the government is just dragging its feet trying to kill of the pit by stealth.

“If they’d done a proper deal for Kellingley when we first called for action, the investment need would be a fraction of what is needed now.

“That’s why we need urgent action now before it is too late.”