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RATIONALISATION AND THE DECLINE OF THE COAL MINING INDUSTRY IN THE UK
Introduction Coal played an important role in the performance of Britain as an industrial economythroughout the 19thand early 20thCenturies (Glyn & Machin, 1997; Owen, 1999). Coal wasconsidered to be the unrivalled source of fuel for industrial machinery, domestic heating,production of electricity and gas, and land and sea transport. This was all before the adventof cheap natural gas and oil after the Second World War (Shaw, 2012; Williams, 1998).Availability of this coal was huge and at the time it was thought to be seemingly limitless andits easily accessible reserves in various parts of the United Kingdom made coal asignificantly critical element in the era of British supremacy (in the 19thcentury) both as thedominating nation within the global economy (through exports to other nations to fuel theirrailway and shipping systems) and as a manufacturing nation (Shaw, 2012; Callinicos &Simons, 1985). This essay will critically examine the coal-mining industry’s evolution /decline considering government efforts to restructure and revive the industry over the years /decades. Regional PolicyIn 1994, the EU commissioner for Regional policies announced that the EU has provided£124 million to support British mining communities through the RECHAR initiative. TheRECHAR initiative is an initiative that was created by the EU in an effort to reinforcemeasures that will support economic and social restructuring communities that have beenaffected by decline in the mining industry. Initiatives like this have been introduced in areasthat were affected with other regional issues such the steel industry and shipbuildingindustry. The initiative helped some communities to diversify from the mining industry; it alsohelped in training those that lost their jobs to the decline of the industry. The Policy hasbeen used as an investment tool that has supported social and economic growth and haspromoted greater competitiveness across Europe and the quality of life in the long run.However, this initiative has not been a permanent solution as highlighted in the later sectionsof this essay. Going through the four headings, the aim of restructuring of the mining industryhas always been to save jobs. Saving jobs by keeping the industry the way it has alwaysbeen all the way back to the 19thcentury. This aim has been what is wrong with the industryin my opinion this has accelerated the decline of the industry. RationalisationThe central problem of the industry was that that sales had become stagnant, demand waslow exports had failed to pick up pre-war period in 1913 when Britain dominated the worldmarket (Coates, 1994; Benson & Neville, 1976). The coal-owners at the time (between the
two world wars) argued that the problems of the industry were mainly routed in low workhours and high wages as the wage rate had been increased while the work hours hadreduced in 1919 (Adeney & Lloyd, 1986; Fine, 1990). However, the problems facing the

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