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Coal Industry

Volume 408: debated on Friday 11 July 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what criteria are being applied to the availability of financial support to the coal industry. [125233]

The principal means of financial support to the coal industry is through coal investment aid, which has a budget of up to £60 million over three years. The full criteria that applications under coal investment aid must satisfy are set out in the scheme description document, which can be found at www.dti.gov.uk/enerRv/coal/invest aid/description.dpfThe funding of any project under coal investment aid will be discretionary and an application satisfying all the criteria will not necessarily receive investment aid. In determining which eligible projects are to be supported and to what level, the Government will assess the relative quality of the projects. The quality of an application will be judged by considering (in order of importance): medium term viability of the applicant and the project; number of jobs created or safeguarded by the project and how long the jobs will last; the commercial efficiency of the investment project; job quality; labour productivity gains and wider benefits offered to the local area.The Government have been inviting applications under coal investment aid since 16 June 2003. The deadline for applications relating to the first assessment period is 31 July 2003.