A new deal to safeguard mining jobs has been agreed, 20 years after the
sector’s workers staged one the UK’s most notorious strikes.
More than 3,500 jobs will be safeguarded and a further 100 created as £36.4m
is released to the coal industry under the Government’s Coal Investment Aid
Energy minister Stephen Timms said 12 coalmines were offered £52.5m under
the scheme last November. Ten have now accepted, securing the £36.4m investment
and 3,675 jobs. The money will be paid to mines in instalments as the
investment projects proceed.
The remaining £16.1m is still on offer to a further two mines, Hatfield and
Ellington, which have until the end of this month to accept.
A further offer of £2.2m has been made to Tower Colliery in South Wales,
which could safeguard a further 420 jobs and preserve access to an estimated
3.5m tonnes of reserves.
Timms said coal was still a vital part of the UK’s energy mix, accounting
for around 35 per cent of electricity supplied across the UK.
"There are challenges facing the industry, but there are opportunities
out there both in mining and electricity generation. That’s why we fought for
agreement with our EU colleagues to provide up to 30 per cent of the costs of
investment," he said.
In March 1984, UK miners went on strike for 12 months, a move the
Conservative Government interpreted as a direct challenge to its authority to
rule, rather than a traditional industrial dispute.