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'No State Funds' For Threatened Kellingley Colliery

21 August 2014 - The business secretary has said giving government funds to keep a North Yorkshire coal mine open "wouldn't be good value for money".

BBC News - 30 May 2014 - UK Coal intends to close Kellingley Colliery in North Yorkshire and Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire


21 August 2014

The mine is scheduled to close next year with the lost of 700 jobs

The business secretary has said giving government funds to keep a North Yorkshire coal mine open "wouldn't be good value for money".

However, Vince Cable said the government was proposing a ?10m loan to avoid a sudden, "brutal closure" of Kellingley Colliery.

Last week the mine's owners UK Coal held talks with Energy Secretary Matthew Hancock about extra state aid.

The pit is scheduled to close in 2015, with the loss of 700 jobs.

UK Coal said it was discussing the terms of the ?10m loan from the government to allow a "managed closure" of the mine and Thoresby Colliery in Nottinghamshire.

Comments 'a disgrace'

Speaking during a visit to Yorkshire, Mr Cable said that the mines had "no long-term future unless very large amounts of taxpayers' money are involved".

He said: "Given the pressures on the government's budget and the fact that ?100m could do a whole lot of other things supporting jobs in growth industries we've taken the view that wouldn't be good value for money."

Mr Cable's department is responsible for any decision on state aid for the mines.

Last month, the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM) dropped a plan to organise an employee buyout of the mine.

Chris Kitchen, from the NUM, described Mr Cable's comments as a "disgrace".

"We haven't even had UK Coal put in an application for state aid and he's already saying he is not in favour of it, " he said.

"We've been pushing for a state aid application to be put in over six months ago.

"Six months ago it would have been value for money for the taxpayer."


31 January 2015


Miners at a North Yorkshire coal mine set to close this year have staged a rally to call on the government to provide funds to keep it open.

Kellingley Colliery is set to close in 2015 with the loss of about 700 jobs.

Workers, MPs, and union leaders marched through Knottingley and held a rally at Kellingley Social Club.

In August, Business Secretary Vince Cable said?giving government funds to keep the mine open "wouldn't be good value for money".

UK Coal announced plans in April for a managed closure?of the colliery due to "extremely difficult trading conditions" and in September secured ?4m from government to support the plan.

Chris Kitchen, from the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), said: "Kellingley has about 30 years worth of coal and we know that we're going to be burning coal in this country to generate electricity... the majority of that now is imported.

"It's not that we're trying to keep Kellingley open for some kind of historic reason, there's a use for the fuel and there's a use for the fuel going forward that's mined at Kellingley."

A?report?prepared for the NUM said the mine could remain open until 2018 with help additional from the government.

Labour MP for Normanton, Pontefract and Castleford Yvette 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 because there's been no investment in new faces. Yet the government is just dragging its feet trying to kill off the pit by stealth."

A government spokesman said: "We have now received a plan from the company and will look carefully at their proposal, bearing in mind that we must make sure that taxpayers receive value for money."

Chris Wright
Fri, 25 Sep, 2020
Ee: Mining Deaths and Closure of Kellingley Colliery

Hello Fionn

I've looked at your website a few times - it's really interesting. Over the past few years, I've been trying to get a handle on the number of mining deaths. The total figure I have is around 150 000 but I'd like to get a source for this if possible. Can you help at all? I don't want to put you to any trouble.  I'm particularly interested in the following statement on your website:

"Between 1880 and 1910, over 1000 fatalities occurred every year in British coal mines. An average of four miners killed and 517 injured every day. In 1910 the national fatality figure rose to 1818 killed. Of these, 501 died in explosions, 658 through falls of ground, and 286 through haulage accidents, 373 other accidents."

I really appreciate your quick and very detailed reply to my email about Mining Deaths. Just a bit of background about why this topic interests me: I'm from Newcastle but have lived in W Yorks since I came to study at Leeds University in 1985. In the last decade, a big news story round here has been the closure of Kellingley Colliery; I was interested in this so attended the march in commemoration of the closure, on 19 December 2015. At the beginning of the march, Knottingley Silver Band played "Gresford", a tune I'd never heard. I researched it and found what it referred to, then found information regarding other mining disasters. I was absolutely gob-smacked: I had no idea so many men (and some women and children) had died in UK mines. Since then, I've tried to gather together figures for deaths, together with reliable sources. The Durham Mining Museum ( is very good: they have figures for many disasters (five deaths or more) for some, but not all of the UK, as well as a table of data which gives all mining deaths from 1873 - 1953 inclusive, totalling over 85000 deaths.  I've seen a figure of 150,000 for total deaths - very, very shocking - and am trying to gather together reliable sources for this, so that I can tell people about this and back up my data with sources.

I'm not from a mining family, but my dad was born in Whitehaven in 1938 and his father (a railway engineer, I believe - he died in the early 50s) was a member of a mine rescue team.

Here are my photos from the Kellingley Colliery march:

Here are some general mining photos, all taken in or after 2015 (possibly some duplication with the above):

Thank you again for your reply. I will have another good look round your website: I think it might contain information that I haven't yet discovered.


Chris Wright
Otley, W Yorks