Letter: Pit closures and the brutality of economic policy

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Sir: Frankly, I don't know if coal is cheaper for the consumer than gas or nuclear fuels. I don't know if the British coal industry is sustainable in the long term or not. Nor is it clear that coal is environmentally friendly. But in my view these are irrelevant considerations in the current circumstances of the Government's plan of pit closures.

What is relevant is giving miners notice of termination; phasing out production over a reasonable period; during that period offering workers realistic forms of retraining; and cultivating with the private sector local opportunities for re-employment.

More broadly, it is facile to think that control of inflation constitutes a full economic policy for an economy moving into a post-industrial period. It has been evident for some time that the Government's economic policy is out of date and trivial. It is now clear that it is also brutal.

Yours faithfully,



16 October