I write with regard to the Government review into Remploy that has been taking place: having worked for Remploy for the last 19 years, I am extremely concerned as I have seen exactly what is going on. It is now nothing less than the mass political suicide of the Tory-driven Labour Party.
Remploy was not set up to be a profit-making concern, but rather as a compassionate Government initiative to meet a social need, a need which still prevails today.
It seems that disabled workers are not now seen as having day-to-day health problems, but rather to be treated as insignificant and much akin to scroungers on incapacity benefit. That is new Tory Labour: no heart, no soul, no hope!
Remploy factory workers were given not just a standard of living but dignity, opportunity and a real sense of purpose through this type of supported employment, values that the current Government seem totally incapable of understanding or caring about. There are many, many areas where vast savings can be made in Remploy without closing factories for disabled workers. Starting with the fat cats at the top. Support us in our fightback.
TOMMY BURTON, Ashington, Northumberland
We still believe in Northumberlandia
WHILE the decision by Blyth Valley District Council's planning committee to vote against our proposals for a surface mine and the Northumberlandia Landform Park at Shotton (The Journal, news and letters, May 25) is obviously very disappointing, we are still confident that our application would provide both short and long-term benefits to South-East Northumberland, if it is approved by the county council.
The Banks Group is recognised within our industry for placing great importance on the environmental aspects of our development proposals and we have also carried out substantial consultations throughout the development of our plans.
This process has led to changes to the original application, which mean that the mining areas have moved to more than a kilometre away from the nearest residential settlement at Beaconhill. Carefully designed landscaping means that the mine would be screened from view by residents, visitors or businesses in Cramlington. Industry-leading noise reduction and air quality technologies would also be utilised to minimise the impact on the local area.
The Shotton scheme would provide indigenous coal resources of the required quality to the regional aluminium industry, while also helping to sustain the mining sector. These two industries still support more than 4,000 jobs locally and continue to contribute significantly to the North-East's overall economic health.
Northumberlandia has been designed as a major gateway feature for the area, attracting both tourism income and inward investment and providing enviable parkland facilities for local residents. A unique and accessible piece of art would greet visitors to Cramlington.
There are many aspects to the crucial debate around the future of energy provision within North-East England, but I believe that our Shotton proposals would make a positive contribution to both the local and wider regional communities, and I hope Northumberland County Council will recognise this when they review the scheme later in the summer.
MARK DOWDALL, Divisional Director (Environment & Community), The Banks Group, Tow Law, County Durham
Honest analysis of wind power needed
I REFER to the article headlined "Wind power getting bigger" (The Journal, May 27) in which I note Professor Tavner, of Durham University, says more sites will be sought offshore, where conditions are windier. …