I want to update the House on developments since the previous statements made on 11 March and 15 April 2013 on the future of UK Coal Operations Ltd (UKCOL) following the closure of their deep mine at Daw Mill in Warwickshire on 7 March due to the serious fire which broke out on 22 February.
In addition to daily contact with the company we are in regular contact with the union representatives of the work force and other key stakeholders including Members of Parliament. The cross-Government response, coordinated by my officials, has ensured that we have been able to respond to the company’s needs, and help facilitate its financial position.
As part of the local response supporting the Daw Mill workforce, BIS East Midlands arranged a further employee-focused event, providing advice and information on entitlements and alternative employment opportunities, in Mansfield on 8th May, which was well attended and positively received. This mirrors the event attended by nearly 200 employees in Arley on 22 March. In addition information compiled by Job Centre Plus has been sent to the Daw Mill workforce with links to information sources and resources both locally and nationally.
In relation to the future of the company, and its remaining 2,000 employees, Members will have seen the statement made on 1st May 2013 by Kevin McCullough, Chief Executive for UKCOL in which he advised that the company “continue to work closely with our employees, government, pension funds, the Pensions Regulator, suppliers and customers”.
Our priority remains to assist the company’s efforts to ensure that as far as possible the viable parts of the business are maintained, and that those who are regrettably likely to be made redundant following the fire at Daw Mill receive appropriate support.