THE TUC has called on the Government to apply for state aid to secure a future for UK coal mining, including a North Yorkshire pit which is set to shut with the loss of 700 jobs.

Ministers are currently allowing the managed closure of Kellingley Colliery and also Thorseby in Nottinghamshire by the end of 2015. But the TUC claims a successful government application for EU state aid would enable both mines to stay open until at least 2018.

"This could save jobs and secure the immediate future for Britain’s coal mines," said a spokesman.

"Keeping Britain’s mines open through state aid could also save the taxpayer money. The cost of state aid – estimated at around £63-£74 million – could easily be covered by the £86 million of extra profits generated between 2015 and 2018 from over £500 million in coal revenues, according to a new TUC-commissioned report."

He said the report, written by Orion Innovations, argued that an early closure of the two mines would cost 2,600 years of lost employment and a £75 million loss to the exchequer in terms of income tax and national insurance contributions.