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The NUM expresses its condolences to the family of Tony Benn who passed away this morning. Tony was a stalwart of the Labour and Trade Union movement and veteran left-wing campaigner. R.I.P Tony 1925 - 2014.
Devastating news that Bob Crow, General Secretary of the RMT, has passed away in the early hours of this morning. Bob was a true socialist and trade unionist and always supported the NUM and its members. He will be sadly missed by everyone that knew him.
The NUM sends its sincere condolences to Bob's family and friends.
NUM/NACODS/BACM pressure Government to do what is morally right.
CHANCELLOR INTERVENES TO HONOUR FUEL ALLOWANCE BENEFITS OF EX-MINERS
Around 1,500 hundred former mine workers to receive fuel allowance despite mine closure
Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced that the government will guarantee the concessionary fuel allowance for around 400 mine workers who lost their jobs as a result of the recent restructuring of UK Coal.
The government will also guarantee the allowance for around 1,000 retired workers previously employed by the company.
In total, around 1,500 former mine workers will be entitled to continue to receive their allowance in the form of cash or coal. They will be entitled to choose up to £1,300 of free coal, or up to £600 cash in lieu of coal per year – in line with the current beneficiaries of the scheme.
The National Concessionary Fuel Agreements were put in place between British Coal and mining unions in the 1980s. When the British Coal Corporation was privatised in 1994, the government retained the obligation to provide concessionary fuel to former British Coal workers entitled to it.
The concessionary fuel arrangements for UK Coal were funded by UK Coal as part of their inheritance as a successor company.
About 69,000 former mine workers or their families receive a fuel allowance from Government each year under the National Concessionary Fuel Scheme. This announcement will mean that a further 1,500 former mine workers, who would otherwise have lost their benefits following the collapse of UK Coal, will now be brought into the scheme.
Speaking at Thoresby Colliery in Mansfield, George Osborne said:
"A number of local MPs brought to my attention that former mine workers were losing their concessionary fuel allowance, through no fault of their own when UK Coal went into administration.
“I wanted to help and because we are fixing the economy, we can. It is right and fair that we make sure they continue to receive their allowance and that is why we are bringing them into the government scheme.”
At present the Government is working through with Capita and CPL how they re-start the scheme.
NUM, NACODS, BACM and the GMB together with mining MP's from both sides of the house and the TUC has successfully achieved the re-instatement of the concessionary fuel allowance for former UK Coal Mining Ltd employees which was suspended as a consequence of the planned insolvency of the company 9 July 2013. Frances O'Grady from the TUC was responsible for organising the first meeting with the Energy Minister Michael Fallon MP to achieve this aim.
Why shouldn't Kellingley and Thoresby have remained open into 2018?
In a report prepared for the NUM and TUC "Merits of UK Coal State Aid Application" it is argued that rather than close Kellingley and Thorseby in 2015 they could remain open until 2018. Other EU member states have and still are benefiting from the fund whilst making a case for extended funding.
"It can be seen that our European competitors are taking a strategic decision to support their coal industry during managed wind down of uncompetitive coal mines, and are providing substantial sums under European State Aid regulations. As an example, Germany’s closure plans are designed to address the social impact of job losses, and specifically to allow sufficient time to enable direct and indirect supply chains to adjust. To date the UK has made little use of state-aid provisions for the sector, either under the previous regulations or current Closure Aid."
The full report can be read here http://www.num.org.uk/uploads/26/1184.pdf
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