Around 50 jobs at UK Coal’s head office near Doncaster are under threat today as the Prime Minister promised the Government will do “everything we can” to help preserve them.
Britain’s largest coal producer, based at Harworth, last night announced plans to close two of the country’s three remaining deep-pit coal mines, in North Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire, in the next 18 months.
UK Coal is consulting on plans to shut Kellingley in North Yorkshire, which employs 700 people, and Thoresby in Nottinghamshire, which employs 600, nine months after the company was rescued from administration
It will leave employee-owned Hatfield Colliery in Doncaster as Britain’s last remaining deep-pit mine.
The firm is hoping to secure an emergency cash injection of up to £20 million through a combination of funding from the Government and the private sector but will still need to make the cutbacks even if it succeeds.
A spokesman said: “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.”
Asked if he was ready to act to “keep these mines alive”, Mr Cameron told BBC1’s Breakfast: “Yes, we will do everything we can. We are talking to the company, we are talking to other businesses related to this company.
“There are obviously limits. This is taxpayers’ money that is involved. But we will work with them as closely as we can.
“I am in the business of trying to save jobs, of making sure we have diverse supplies of energy, so if I can help I will help. We want to do everything we can to keep people in their jobs, to keep businesses going.
“If there are things that we can do, if there is bridging finance that we can make available, then we will look at that very, very closely.”