With reference to "The runaway gravy train," by Mike Bentley in York (The Press, January 5). In this revealing feature, Mike discloses that 20 per cent of our workforce are employed by "NuLabour", at a cost approaching £1.6 billion a year.

There are many doing excellent work in essential public services but, judging by the way many services are struggling, managers and administrators, who tend to command the highest earnings along with their political bosses, are too numerous and surplus to requirement.

Is it possible to discover how many people within these numbers work in the "benefit" industry, and at what cost, in relation to the actual number receiving benefits and how much they receive?

Also, the amount of legitimate benefits which remain in the Treasury, unclaimed by those who need them, because they are too difficult to claim?

It should be remembered that the managers all have to be accommodated in buildings, recruited, managed, trained and equipped - and also provided with protected pensions and benefits.

George Appleby, Clifton, York.