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UK Coal Operations Ltd

Volume 566: debated on Wednesday 10 July 2013

I want to update the House following UK Coal Operations Ltd’s (UKCOL) announcement on Tuesday 9 July 2013 , that it had secured court approval to place the company into administration, with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) appointed as administrators, with a view to saving as many of its mining operations as possible, including its two remaining deep mines at Kellingley and Thoresby and six surface mining operations, and securing jobs for around 2,000 employees.

I understand that the company’s directors concluded that it was impossible for UKCOL to continue trading in its current form following the impact on its finances after the serious fire which broke out on 22 February 2013 and the subsequent decision to close Daw Mill colliery in Warwickshire on 7 March 2013.

The process of entering administration is continuing and we should await the outcome. I understand that PwC have already communicated with the workforce, their union representatives and the company’s creditors to explain the implications for them.

Given the closure of Daw Mill, it will not form part of the new company. Our priority now is to support the mine’s former employees through the redundancy payments service. The Government will of course meet the full statutory costs of any redundancies.

PwC are arranging a series of support sessions next week to help redundant employees to complete the necessary documentation for statutory redundancy payments and any other benefits as quickly as possible. PwC have set up a website which will provide individuals with up to date information.

In addition, the Jobcentre Plus rapid response service will be deployed to help mitigate the immediate impact of job losses, and where appropriate skills are no longer in demand arrange retraining. This builds on the work which has already been undertaken by Jobcentre Plus and other partners since the Daw Mill fire in February.

The cross-Government response, co-ordinated by my officials, will continue during the administration process to ensure everything possible is done to support the workforce and the local communities.