Cameron’s “support” for open cast coal questioned

The Prime Minister stated his support for the open cast coal mining industry today but failed to explain exactly how he would do so. In the House of Commons during […]

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By Vicky Ellis

The Prime Minister stated his support for the open cast coal mining industry today but failed to explain exactly how he would do so.

In the House of Commons during the Prime Minister’s Questions session David Cameron was pressed on whether he was aware of the difficulties the industry faced by Labour MP Sandra Osborne (pictured).

The opposition MP asked: “Mr Speaker, is the Prime Minister aware Scottish Coal went into liquidation last week and six hundred hard working people in Scotland have lost their jobs?”

Referring to the mine closures under Margaret Thatcher’s tenure as Prime Minister, she went on: “Mr Speaker, the Tories closed deep mines during the 1980s, will he [David Cameron] stand behind the open cast industry today or will it just be the same old Tories?”

Mr Cameron replied: “Well I’m very happy to look at what she says and we want to support all of our industries in Britain including our coal industry whether it’s in Scotland or in England. Obviously in Scotland since the election the number of people has gone up but we need to see that go further and faster and I’m very happy to look at the particular industry in general and the example she gives.”

However the National Union of Mineworkers today told ELN it is concerned the whole industry is at risk and more should be done to support it at this time of need.

Elsewhere on social media the Coalition leader’s lack of knowledge was noted. Martin McCluskey, Labour political advisor to the Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland wrote on Twitter: “Sandra Osborne raising Scottish Coal closure. Sounds very much like Cameron not across the issue. #pmqs”.

When contacted by ELN about support for open cast mining, Downing Street said it is important to note that EU regulations limit the help the Government can provide to the whole coal sector at it is a commercial business, also pointing out the potential £40million investment announced by mineral resources firm Hargreaves in surface mining.