Extra cash to retrain redundant miners

The Learning and Skills Council has pledged pound;250,000 to help the people and businesses affected by the closure of the Selby coalfield in North Yorkshire.

David Harbourne, executive director of the North Yorkshire LSC, will serve on a task force set up to address the fall out from UK Coal's decision to close the three-mine complex.

Selby is one of the most modern deep mines in the UK and the largest deep coal-mining project ever undertaken in the world. But it has lost more than pound;93 million in the past three years.

Around 2,000 jobs will be lost directly, including many miners who moved to Selby after other pit closures across the country. But analysts believe as many as 5,000 jobs could go across the region. The Government has already pledged up to pound;10m in aid.

One of the first jobs of the task force will be to commission a training needs and skill audit analysis with the miners. The local LSC had already identified the Selby district as needing particular support, before the closure was announced.

Mr Harbourne said: "Our aim must be to invest time and money in helping people develop new skills because this will boost their chances of finding other ways of making a living, such as starting a second career or setting up their own businesses."

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