Following the successful privatisation of British Coal, the future of the deep-mine coal industry in Scotland lies with the private sector. The Government believe that privatisation is the key to achieving our aim of securing the largest economically viable coal industry in the longer term. I wish Mining Scotland Limited every success.
Does the Minister agree that it is vital to the future that he has just outlined for the pumping operations at Frances colliery in Fife to continue, both to allow a full economic appraisal of the colliery's coal reserves and potential and to prevent widespread ecological damage to wide parts of Fife? Will the Minister press the President of the Board of Trade and the licensed coal board, or its successor, to meet the cost of such pumping operations to allow a full examination of the economic and ecological issues?