Grahame Morris MP spoke in this afternoon’s debate on the future of the coal industry, a subject he described as “very close to my heart, and to the hearts of many Members representing coalfield constituencies.”
The Easington MP noted the many tragedies that the region has faced, particularly the Easington Colliery disaster on 29 May 1951, which claimed 83 lives.
He spoke of the need for investment in health, housing, education and employment, and the debt of gratitude that is owed to former mining communities:
“This nation’s wealth was built on coal, and the toil of miners working in dark and dangerous conditions. Let’s not forget that we have a debt of honour as a nation to miners and their communities. These men mined the coal that fired the engines of industry in the last century. that made Britain great. As coal is phased out of UK energy production, we should never forget the sacrifice and lives lost and shortened.”
He concluded, “The legacy of coal in the UK should be a new, bright, clean and green future for former coalfield areas. We should be exploring technology by ground source heat exchange pumps that have enormous potential in former coal-mining areas.
The future of coal and the debt we owe the former coal-mining communities must include settling the historic injustices that former miners in coalfield communities still encounter, 30 years after the pits closed.
As we consider the future of coal in the UK, let us use this time as an opportunity to amend these historical injustices in relation to the Mineworkers’ Pension Scheme surplus, justice for Orgreave and investment in coalfield communities.”