Hain presses for state funding to subsidise mine rescue teams

Ministers faced fresh calls to provide state funding for mining rescues after Peter Hain, the Shadow Welsh Secretary, warned more lives could be lost in future disasters.

Mining leaders backed calls by Mr Hain – in whose Neath constituency the Gleision mining tragedy last year claimed four lives – for the Treasury to fund rescues. There were concerns that rescue efforts were hampered by a lack of resources.

Mr Hain compiled a report in October warning there was a "potentially lethal flaw" in funding of the Mines Rescue Service, which relies on private cash and the co-operation and capacity of neighbouring mines.

Professor Huw Beynon of Cardiff University yesterday told the Western Mail that there were no longer large numbers of miners to participate in rescues.

"In the past, there were thousands of them," he said. "The safety risks of this system in the Swansea and Neath valleys are quite high."

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