Miliband in talks with chiefs on pit

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Labour leader Ed Miliband has held talks with miners’ union officials ahead of a meeting with the Energy Secretary as part of his campaign to preserve Doncaster’s last working pit.

Mr Miliband, MP for the Doncaster North constituency which includes Hatfield Colliery, met with NUM president Chris Kitchen at his constituency office in Bentley.

The union’s Yorkshire area vice-chair Keith Hartshorn and pit representatives Bob Fitzpatrick and Tony Shaw also attended.

Mr Kitchen says the NUM will do everything they can to prevent the closure of Hatfield, which is rumoured to be running at a loss.

Mr Miliband has pledged to do all he can to safeguard the future of the pit after the announcement earlier this month that Hargreaves, which runs Hatfield Colliery, has proposed mothballing Maltby Colliery on geological, financial, and health and safety grounds.

He said: “Communities all over Doncaster were built on coal and have a long, proud tradition of mining.

“That’s why it’s important to me that efforts are made to preserve what is now Doncaster’s last operational pit.

“Hatfield Colliery is a significant employer in our area, providing jobs for hundreds of workers, and there is enough coal in the area for another two decades of mining.

“It was a useful meeting and I will raise many of the points made with the Energy Secretary.”

Doncaster Central MP Rosie Winterton also took part in the meeting.

Mr Miliband, along with Ms Winterton and Don Valley MP Caroline Flint, will be meeting with Energy Secretary Ed Davey to discuss their concerns in the near future.

They will also use the meeting to clarify the reasons behind the Government’s decision to deny funding for the Don Valley power plant.

Hargreaves declined to make any comment on the Labour leader’s meeting with the NUM.