Prime Minister David Cameron has told Chad his Government did ‘everything it possibly could’ to save Thoresby Colliery.
Quizzed by reporter Nick Frame during his recent visit to Eakring, the PM was asked about the recent bombshell that Thoresby’s bid for a £338m lifeline to keep the pit running was refused by the Government.
Thoresby is the last remaining deep pit in Nottinghamshire, but is set to close this year, along with Kellingley in South Yorkshire.
There had been hopes that with the funding, the pits could have remained open for another three years.
But Mr Cameron said: “We tried everything we could within the rules.
“If anyone looks at how much help we have given to UK Coal would see it’s been a very substantial package, and even now we are also providing the money for the concessionary coal, almost £30m, money to help write off particular debts, and money to help this company any way we can.
“We are limited by what you can do under the state aid rules and the £338m proposals I think was just too much, £75,000 per job for the next couple of years.
“I think any fair assessment of this Government would say it has stepped in and done everything it possibly could to help UK Coal.”
It is thought more than 200 workers have already been laid off at Thoresby, with the remainder, between 300 and 400, set to go in the coming months.
The demise of the industry blamed the continuously low coal price over recent years, thanks in part to the success of fracking in the US.
Combined with the strong pound against the dollar, UK Coal say it made it impossible to remain.
Sherwood MP Mark Spencer still hoped a private investor could be found, but with coal prices remaining low, felt it was doubtful.