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£7.5 billion in goods traded through Gatwick in 2017

Local businesses are 50% more likely to export than the UK average.

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UK’s only direct service to Chengdu – China’s fourth largest city – started at Gatwick last week. The majority of cargo goes in the hold of long haul passenger services like this. (Image: John Nguyen/PA Wire)

International goods to the value of £7.5 billion passed through Gatwick in 2017 in trade that supported 113,800 UK jobs – according to the most detailed analysis of its kind into the airport’s influence on trade and investment – published today by Oxford Economics. 

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Metals/metal parts (£2 billion) and vehicles/ vehicle parts (£1.7 billion) were the two biggest goods categories traded through the airport, followed by electronics (£773 million), machinery (£682 million) and pharmaceuticals (£588 million).

Over two thirds – or £5.3 billion (61000 tonnes) – of this airfreight was exported and £2.2 billion (35600 tonnes) was imported.  Gatwick’s total cargo tonnage is also up +20.4% this year, compared to last. 

Gatwick and the South East

The report also looked at businesses that trade internationally in the seven local authorities in the Gatwick Diamond region and found them to be more export-focussed – with the proportion of businesses in the region sending goods to international markets 50% greater than for the UK as a whole.

The seven local authorities in the Gatwick Diamond are Epsom and Ewell, Reigate and Banstead, Horsham, Tandridge, Crawley, Mole Valley and Mid Sussex.

With Brexit in mind – over eleven (11.3%) per cent of Gatwick Diamond businesses exported goods compared to the UK average (7.2%).

Local businesses are also well positioned for global trade – with 60% of the Diamond’s exports going to non-European markets – again more than national average (51%).

Gatwick’s 67-strong long haul network is singled out in the report as important for trade outside the EU as the vast majority of cargo passing through the airport goes in the belly of long haul passenger aircraft. Top non-EU destinations for the Surrey, East and West Sussex region exports outside the EU are USA (£2.5 billion), China (£450 million), Japan (£250 million) and Russia (£200 million).

The South East was also shown to be a leading exporter of specialist professional services (eg architects, auditors, engineers, lawyers), and information communication technology, insurance and transport services – accounting for a quarter (24%) of all UK exports in these sectors.

Steve Norris, Chair of the Gatwick Growth Board and former transport minister, said:

Gatwick is a nationally significant infrastructure asset and today’s report shines a light on the £7.2 billion contribution it makes to the UK economy in terms of trade and investment.

“Much of the region’s economic activity is centred around the airport, which is why there is a greater concentration of company headquarters clustered in the region around Gatwick than in London.  This constellation of high value industries attracts significant foreign investment and trade activity and the access the airport gives them to international markets is a key reason why they invest and locate in the region.”  

Rob Lewtas, Department of International Trade, said:

“Gatwick has always played an important role supporting trade, investment and jobs both in the national and local economy.  This report shows how Gatwick’s recent growth has increased the South East’s connectivity even further and is driving international business activity from the region to all parts of the globe.”

Jeremy Taylor, Chief Executive, Gatwick Diamond Business, which represents businesses across the region, said:

“While the report rightly points out Gatwick’s important role supporting exports from the region, it also shows that much more can be done. Too many businesses and cargo companies send their goods past Gatwick and round the M25 to Heathrow. As the airport’s long-haul network grows, so too do welcome opportunities for local firms to use Gatwick as their local global gateway.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive, Coast to Capital, a business-led collaboration between the private, public and education sectors across the region, said:

“The Coast to Capital economy is intrinsically linked to the success of Gatwick Airport. This report confirms the important role of the airport as a global hub to connect businesses to international markets. As the airport continues to grow, so too does the area’s economy, giving confidence to businesses and consumers as we leave the EU.”

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EXCLUSIVE: Post Office WILL CLOSE whatever consultation says

A source within the Post Office has revealed that despite a public consulation coming up, the decision to close the current location has already been made.

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Despite press releases and statements from the head office of the Post Office asking residents to express their views over the ‘proposed’ closure, it now appears that whatever views come through, a decision of whether to close the site has already been determined.

A source says the consultation is nothing more than lip service to residents.

Speaking to CN24, the source said that all the consultation will look at is ‘how’ the change of venue will work, not ‘if’ or ‘should’ it happen.

“it is an utter betrayal” – Leader of Crawley Council

This will come as a shock to many in the area who rely heavily on the services that are currently offered and will put in doubt any faith over public consultations.

In a letter aimed at the management of the Post Office and sent to CN24, one resident,  Mrs Elmer from Tilgate has expressed her views over the proposed closure.

She writes:

“I am extremely concerned about the possible closure of Crawley Post Office.

I find it very worrying that in a town with a population of over 106,000 the management is considering popping it into a shop in the shopping mall.

The fact that one always has to queue to be served because it is so busy, even though it has at least five stations of service as well as several self service positions, a parcel counter, an external parcel collection office plus a fully trained staff, how is all of that going to fit into WH Smith’s in the Mall?

To park in the Mall you have to pay.

It is not an easy shop to get to, you have to walk half the length of the Mall to get there.
It is not a very large shop and it has a quite dismal atmosphere.

Disabled people would not be able to reach it very easily.

To carry out all the functions the current post office does it would have to enlarge the premises half as much again.

Working on the assumption that it would work on the same premise that the local one in Tilgate does, it will take a month of Sundays to carry out the same amount of work the real post office does.

Will all the staff move over to continue the secure work they carry out?

Please have a serious look at the situation before making a huge mistake.

J Elmer”

But it now seems that this will fall on deaf ears.  CN24 contacted the Post Office press team where a member verbally confirmed that the consultation would be about access to the new site.

Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb said:

“It is clear now that this was only ever a public relations exercise.  For the thousands of people who will be disadvantaged by this it is an utter betrayal.”

Tilgate Councillor Francis Guidera said:

“The planned post office DOWNGRADE which their PR department is marketing as a move, is bad for the staff, bad for the customers and bad for the town in general.

Our main post office will no longer be able to offer Crown Services going forward and nobody I’ve spoken to is ok with it. I would strongly urge the post office not to go ahead with this.”

A Post Office spokesperson said:

“We would really value and welcome any feedback and comments from you, our customers that can help inform our plans to make changes to Crawley Post Office, particularly on issues like accessibility. And are there any wider other local community issues which you believe could be affected by or affect the proposed move? Please do let us know.

However, the element of our plans that we not seeking feedback is the principle of franchising a branch. This is because the change of management at Crawley Post Office to one that is operated by a retail partner rather than Post Office directly is a commercial decision, and we believe it is the right one in order to sustain Post Office services in communities – not just today, but for the long term too.”

Crawley MP Henry Smith said:

“I’ve got accessibility concerns with the Post Office’s proposals to move their current Boulevard counters to WHSmith’s in County mall and have written to its management to raise these.

If it turns our their consultation – officially still open – is a sham then I will be raising the issue in Parliament.”

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