Coal supplier offers lifeline to ex-miners

A national coal supplier has pledged £50,000 to retired miners to keep them warm this winter, until the Government reinstates concessionary fuel payments to former employees of UK Coal.

Two weeks ago Chad reported that Chancellor George Osborne announced that the Government would honour the ‘free coal’ payments, which were scrapped when UK Coal went into administration earlier this year.

Speaking during a visit to Thoresby Colliery, near Edwinstowe, Mr Osborne announced the Government climbdown following pressure from Mansfield MP Sir Alan Meale.

Now Hargreaves Services will provide £50,000 worth of complimentary coal to retired miners to keep them warm in the short term.

A spokesman for the company told Chad that they had agreed to make the payments before Mr Osborne’s announcement, but decided to continue with the donations to help older people who were now awaiting their concessionary coal following the Government decision.

Commercial Director John Birkett said: “As a company that employs many miners and ex-miners, we felt the need to offer some practical help if we could.

“We were pleased to hear the Chancellor of the Exchequer announce that in future the Government will ensure retirees continue to receive help with their fuel.

“We are pleased that Hargreaves has been able to ‘fill in the gap’ between the demise of UK Coal and the Government now taking action.

“Whilst our actions have been well timed, we recognise that this is only a short-term solution.”