In a letter to The Yorkshire Post (p9), Mr Coates warns of the dangers of EU enlargement to eastern Europe, which may need huge cuts in regional aid.
'Second, Britain is hamstrung because of our unemployment figures consistently under-report the real problem,' he says.
'Objective 1 areas are the poorest in the European Union (they have a GDP of less than 75% of the EU average) and receive the largest amount of regional funds. Only last week I receieved the figures, which have not hitherto not been published, which prove that north Nottinghamshire and north-east Derbyshire, joined together, qualify just as well as South Yorkshire to meet the criteria.
'It is already very late to so this, and Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire will miss the bus if the bids are not placed immediately.'
He concludes: 'Surely it would possible to... present the South Yorkshire, Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire coalfield as a single statistical unit. There is no time to waste.'