As I set out in the statements to the House on 10 April and 9 June, the Government have been working alongside a private sector consortium, led by Hargreaves Services plc, to agree the terms of their plan for a managed closure of UK Coal’s deep mines. This followed a report to Government by the directors of UK Coal in January that the viability of the business was potentially in doubt.
With regret I must inform the House that yesterday Hargreaves announced their decision to withdraw.
The UK Coal directors are urgently exploring alternative options. The Government will continue to co-operate fully with other parties and to explore any proposals that might assist in the managed closure of the mines.
The offer of a £10 million loan that the Government put forward remains available, alongside other contributions, to assist a managed closure of the deep mines subject to Government being provided with assurances that all parties involved are committed to the successful delivery of a closure plan and that the proposal secures value for money for the taxpayer.
I will continue to keep the House updated.