MP welcomes chancellor’s fuel decision

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Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett has welcomed a decision by chancellor George Osborne to honour fuel allowance benefits to ex-miners.

The concessionary fuel allowance was removed from around 1,500 former miners and their widows following the insolvency of UK Coal earlier this year.

Now the government will guarantee the allowance for around 400 mine workers who lost their jobs as a result of the restructuring of UK Coal, along with around 1,000 retired mineworkers previously employed by the company.

The allowance – paid to around 69,000 ex-miners – entitles them to either £1,300 free coal or up to £600 cash in lieu of coal each year.

Mr Osborne said: “A number of MPs brought to my attention that former mine workers were losing their concessionary fuel allowance through no fault of their own.

“It is only right and fair that we make sure they continue to receive their allowance.”

Hemsworth MP Jon Trickett said: “I am pleased that the government has responded to the arguments put forward by MPs in the former mining areas and are to reinstate concessionary fuel allowance to the 1,500 people affected.

“The decision is welcome but is belated. I know many former miners and widows have faced a great deal of anguish over the last six months whilst they have waited for a decision. The next step the government should take is to respond to the calls for a full-scale public inquiry into policing of the 1984-85 Miners’ Strike, which has been under consideration for a year now.”