Corporate Welfare Contradiction in Scotland
Some Scottish Mining Corporations Get Huge Welfare Handout
British taxpayers, whose energy costs are high enough already, are being forced to hand out one hundred million pounds to Scottish mining corporations. The government iteself admits that the welfare handout is only going to the companies that are best off!
The European Commission has cleared a £100,000,000 aid package for the UK's coal industry, which will help "safeguard jobs" at the Longannet mine in Fife.
Ministers say it will help pits with a viable long-term future but which are suffering from short-term problems.
Longannet is Scotland's last deep mine and employs 650 people.
Mining (Scotland) Ltd, which operates Longannet, made a welfare request earlier this year to receive a share of the handouts.
Trade and Industry Secretary Stephen Byers welcomed approval for the giveaways.
Mr Byers said the industry had to find its own place in the energy market but the government wanted the welfare scheme to help with a "period of change".
"This will provide the industry with transitional funding so that it is able to respond to the challenges of the new market conditions that arise from the lifting of the stricter gas consents policy," he added.
It is hoped the funding will help match the large state subsidies received by foreign pits and assist the industry to "adapt to changes" in the electricity market.
[The Progress Report interjects -- Remember this, please, the next time you hear welfare for poor individuals being criticized. Here, welfare is being justified as helping the recipient to adapt to changes in the market, not making them lazy or unproductive!]
Longannet is estimated to have up to 50 million tonnes of reserves. Production on the Kincardine Reserve, beneath the Firth of Forth, began last December and was said at the time to have the potential to secure the 650 jobs for 20 years.
Speaking in April, the chairman of Mining (Scotland), Professor Ross Harper, said: "Government support is imperative to ensure the survival of the industry in the short-term even though it may only provide a temporary levelling of the playing field against international competitors.
"We understand that this government aid will only be given to those companies that can demonstrate that they will be able to compete in the international marketplace in the long-term."
Although the contradictions make it sound like a joke, this is a real incident and the above excerpts came from a real BBC report. What's your opinion? Tell your views to The Progress Report:
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