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Concessionary Coal

Volume 593: debated on Wednesday 4 March 2015

I want to update the House on matters concerning the provision of concessionary fuel entitlements to the miners of UK Coal Production Ltd (UKC).

On 15 January 2015, UKC submitted to Government a request for additional public sector funding to extend the life of its two deep coal mines. Under the company’s current plans, Thoresby is due to close in August 2015 and Kellingley in December 2015. The support requested constitutes state aid to the coal sector, which is governed by Council decision 2010/787/EU, and is restricted to facilitating the safe and orderly closure of loss-making coal mines by 2018 at the latest.

The company’s request is for total additional support of £338 million. Of this, £244 million is to cover the mine’s operating losses prior to closure in 2018 (“closure aid” under article 3 of the coal decision) and £94 million is aimed at mitigating the social and environmental impacts of mine closure (article 4 aid for “exceptional costs”).

I wish to announce now that the Government will ensure UKC miners receive their concessionary fuel entitlements.