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Crawley councillors limit Uber operations around town but Gatwick fails to support local taxi drivers says union

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Unite, Britain’s leading union has welcomed an agreement reached between Crawley councillors and Uber to limit the operations of London licensed Uber vehicles operating in Sussex.

The union, local taxi drivers and campaigners are now calling on Crawley Borough Council to keep up the pressure on Uber’s activities at Gatwick Airport.

Following a campaign by local taxi drivers and a rally on Saturday 31 October, Crawley Borough Council approached Uber and Transport for London to agree a ‘geo-fence’ covering areas outside Gatwick Airport to limit Uber’s operations, and to support local taxi drivers who have been badly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic

However, Gatwick Airport will continue to permit the Uber app to remain operational within the boundaries of the airport, charging London licensed Uber vehicles to use one of its long stay car parks.

According to the union this decision will continue to deny local taxi drivers of much needed business in the middle of the Coronavirus crisis.

Unite, local taxi drivers and campaigners are now calling on the council to keep the pressure on Gatwick Airport saying the airport must demonstrate its commitment to the local economy and local employment by ending its agreement with Uber and to support hardworking, locally licensed taxi and private hire drivers.

Unite regional officer Jamie Major said: 

“It’s good news to see Crawley’s Labour councillors making progress on behalf of local taxi drivers but more needs to  be done.  

“We hope the council will keep the pressure on Gatwick Airport. Thousands of local jobs have been lost and the airport should be going the extra mile for the local economy. Crawley has been a major source of skilled employment for the airport over the years. Gatwick should be putting local taxi drivers first, not Uber. Crawley has been hit hard by the pandemic and whether you’re a politician or an employer, the right thing to do is to support the community in these challenging times.”

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Gatwick Airport to receive £8 million Government grant to protect local jobs and bounce back after coronavirus

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Crawley’s MP Henry Smith has welcomed an announcement from Transport Secretary Grant Shapps that Gatwick Airport is now able to apply for a Government grant worth up to £8 million per business, helping to protect jobs and the local economy in Crawley.

The Airport and Ground Operators Support Scheme, which opened on Friday 29th January, will help Gatwick (and other commercial airports across England) to cover losses on costs caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, including airfield operations, contracted services such as airfield and runway maintenance, and business rate bills.

Airports and ground handlers can apply to the scheme on GOV.UK, and if successful, should receive their funding by the end of the financial year.

The financial support scheme, which follows the Government’s extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention (furlough) Scheme, is open for applications until 21st February 2021.

This investment will help support Gatwick Airport following the introduction of international travel restrictions designed to protect public health and prevent the spread of Covid-19 as the Government continues to roll out its world-leading vaccination programme.

Henry said;

“I’m pleased that Gatwick Airport will receive up to £8 million to help it protect jobs during these challenging times.

“This funding offers vital support for Gatwick Airport – which supports so many jobs and businesses in Crawley.

“The Government has provided unprecedented levels of support to protect jobs and businesses through the pandemic, and this latest support will be hugely important for helping Crawley to build back better after coronavirus.

“As Crawley MP and Chair of the Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group I’ve continued to urge Government to ensure support for the industry and this will remain my call to ministers.”

The Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, commented;

“A thriving aviation industry has been central to the success of this country and while we recognise the testing conditions airports are currently facing as a result of the pandemic, I believe that the sector will be ready to bounce back once restrictions are lifted.

“Today’s scheme is another step in the right direction, providing vital support for an industry that is raring to get back to business, once it is safe to do so.”

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