HC Deb 11 November 1999 vol 337 cc728-9W
Mr. Beith

To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry what forms of assistance his Department proposes to make available to deal with the planned closure of Ellington Colliery. [98386]

Mrs. Liddell

The Government have asked John Bridge, Chairman of the North East Regional Development Agency, to take the lead in establishing a small Study Team to look at the wider implications of the closure announcement for South East Northumberland.

Working against the framework of the Regional Economic Strategy, which was recently published by the development agency, this team will undertake a rapid analysis of the situation and develop a comprehensive plan for South East Northumberland.

Together with Local Partners, Government Office North East and Central Government, the team's objective will be to provide me with an urgent report before Christmas on the future strategy for this area.

This Government have implemented a wide ranging programme to regenerate the economies and communities affected by pit closures under the previous administration. That programme already applies to the area around Ellington, which suffered from previous job losses in the coalfields. In the light of the Study Team's report, we will consider what more needs to be done.