§ Mr. Paul Murphy
I have regular meetings with ministerial colleagues and discuss a range of issues including coal state aid, and understand the deep concerns of the people of Wales about the coal industry.
A new European framework for coal state aid, post July 2002, was agreed at the Energy Council on 7 June. We are particularly pleased, that we have been successful in negotiating the flexibility to pay investment aid, where appropriate. This allows support to be given for the development of economically viable mines. The new framework provides us with the basis on which to decide the future of coal policy in the UK, but discussion on the future of UK aid is still ongoing.