Coal extraction is a major source of employment, often in areas where very few other opportunities for well-paid work exist. In addition to the wage bill of £27m+ that SRG paid in 2008/09 we paid approximately another £13m to suppliers, haulers and sub contractors.
The Group spends approx another £150 million on purchasing goods and services from other businesses. As a large proportion of these are based in Scotland and local to the operations, the spend is a major economic contributor to a large number of communities.
Importing the 17 Mt of coal per annum which are currently mined in the UK, would cost the country over £1000 million, with a consequent effect on jobs, primarily in deprived communities. It would lead to increased benefit payments in former mining areas. It would also incur higher environmental costs, both in terms of transport and in the mining process itself, as environmental standards in other coal-producing countries are often lower than in the UK.