Fears for Northumberland town

Rio Tinto Alcan site at Lynemouth, Northumberland Credit: ITV

A North East development agency has warned that a Northumberland town could suffer as a result of the closure of Rio Tinto Alcan.

Workers were seen leaving the Lynemouth plant with their belongings in bin bags yesterday. More than 300 employees completed their last shift after being made redundant.

Around 220 more workers will be phased out over the next few years, as the smelter is decommissioned.

It comes after Remploy, who provide employment services for disabled people, announced its factory in Ashington is one of 36 sites due to close this year. Resulting in at least 28 job losses.

The Wansbeck Centre for Voluntary Service says it fears for Ashington and the local area, with unemployment rates on the rise.

Employability Manager Anne Kidd said: "The situation now for jobs in Ashington and in this part of Northumberland has been exacerbated through the industries closing down.

"Youth unemployment is at an all-time high at the moment. No job prospects on the horizon at this current time, and no major employers coming into the area.

"So this is having a knock-on effect on what was already a very high level of unemployment within the area and a very high level of deprivation."