Wednesday, February 9

The Last Deep Mine

Ellington colliery, the last deep mine in the north-east is to close with the loss of more than 300 jobs. This is embarrassing for at least three of the regions MP's Blair, Milburn and Byers - remember him.

When Stephen Byers was a minister at the Department of Trade and Industry he negotiated an expensive funding package to keep the mine going and miners were assured of many more years of work as Ellington had a steady contract to provide coal to the near by Alca aluminium works.

The abrupt decision by UK Coal to shut the colliery has been blamed on ''serious flooding, which local workers claim has been halted and that the pit is very workable.

Ellington has joined the growing list of pit closures. Coal mining is now an industry of the past and Labour's none to distant promises of ''investment in clean coal technology'' has been spun into the history books and replaced with service industries.

One such example of a replacement employer is the leading law firm Plowden which specialises in personal injury and employment law. The firm has relocated its team of 22 barristers and 12 administrative staff from London to the north-east. The reason for the move 'up North' is the is an explosion of litigation for industrial diseases suffered by ex-miners in the region.

It is a funny old world.

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