Motion calls for more action to support borough’s last pit

Hatfield Colliery
Hatfield Colliery

Doncaster Council has passed a motion calling for the Government to think again over support for Hatfield Colliery, which has ceased production.

Councillors backed the motion, put forward by Hatfield ward Coun Pat Knight, calling for support for the pit which closed early after a rise in carbon tax hit its orders.

The motion stated: “Hatfield Colliery is the last operational mine in South Yorkshire, one of just three in the whole country, and a significant employer in the area with over 400 members of staff. Production has now ceased, probably for the final time.

“The early closure of the pit will end up costing the UK more money, not less. Calculations made by the company suggest that the extra investment required to keep the mine open as planned until summer 2016 would have been more than offset by tax and VAT revenues coming back to Government.

“This calculation does not take account of the money government will now pay out in benefits to miners who are not able to find alternative work. Nor does it factor in the impact of early closure on the 100 companies in the supply chain, the local economy, or the social effects on the local community. The miners at Hatfield were led to believe that they would have another 12 months of work and could plan their futures. However, the Government refused to extend an existing loan arrangement despite the company arranging contracts to sell more than half their coal.

“This council calls on Government to think again, and do all that it can to support the miners of Hatfield Colliery, their families and the communities that it supports.”

Coun Pat Knight said: “Doncaster is a proud town with a long history and a strong coal mining heritage. It is very disheartening to see the closure of Hatfield Colliery, the loss of local jobs and the end of an era, which has been so important to our borough.”

“From the mid 1800s, thousands of hard working people in Doncaster strived - in a difficult, dirty and sometimes dangerous environment – to fuel our nation and put food on the table for their families. Yet, sadly, that heritage is about to be lost.

“The pit is closing early, with the loss of hundreds of jobs, because the Government refuses to provide any further assistance. This is despite the fact that the extra investment required to keep the pit open as planned, would have been more than offset by tax and VAT revenues coming back to the government.”

Business minister Anna Soubry said: “Weve been working closely with the company throughout this difficult time, doing all we can to help.

“That has included providing up to £20m to support the companys managed closure plan. Hatfield’s directors have however taken the decision to close the mine because it could not sell enough coal at the price needed to keep it operational.”