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‘Free broadband for all’ welcomes Crawley Labour candidate as BT boss says it could cost £100bn

The major announcement by Labour sets out how they would bring parts of BT into public ownership creating a new ‘British Broadband’ public service.

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For Crawley, Labour say this would mean 45,875 households and businesses would get a more reliable internet connection as well as making it much stronger. This equates to 98.8% of all premises.

Labour say this is central to their plans to transform the country and economy and say that this would bring communities together in a more connected society.

But the CEO of BT says the cost could reach as much as £100bn to achieve and is ‘not straight forward’ whilst other providers including TalkTalk and Virgin have also expressed extreme concerns.

Leader of Crawley Council and Labour Parliamentary Candidate, Peter Lamb said;

“This is an important announcement and a welcome one for businesses and people in Crawley. By creating this new public service a Labour Government will deliver the fastest broadband free to everyone. That will transform the future of our economy and society.

“The internet is no longer a luxury, it is a central part of our lives, an essential utility. It brings opportunities for work, creativity, entertainment and friendship and those unable to afford or access broadband find themselves excluded from an important part of 21st century life.

“That’s why it makes complete sense to make superfast broadband a public service, because it will help create the more inclusive and connected society we all want to see.”

Rebecca Long-Bailey, Labour’s Shadow BEIS Secretary has said:

“As Shadow Business Secretary, I know all too well the importance of strong digital infrastructure for businesses and industry across the UK.”

“Imagine if all those currently shut out of the labour market, such as those with childcare or caring responsibilities, those unfairly disadvantaged due to disability or older people, could participate fully through free, fast internet access from wherever they are.”

“If we are to be at forefront of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and a global economic player, we must speed up the adoption of technologies across our economy.”

“But this can only be done if the best possible digital infrastructure is in place.”

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Crawley College to reopen following incident

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Crawley College will be beginning a phased reopening to students from tomorrow, Thursday 29 April.

The phased reopening will take place between tomorrow and Tuesday 4 May with full details by courses provided on the college website www.crawley.ac.uk . Students should check details before returning to campus.

The campus has remained closed for the past two days following police investigations into the incident that took place at the college on Monday (26 April).

Vicki Illingworth, Principal of Crawley College, said:

“We are looking forward to welcoming our students and staff back to the college.

“We’d like to reassure everyone, the college is safe and they will be well supported in their return to the campus.

“Sussex Police have confirmed that this is being treated as an isolated incident which is not terror related and nobody else is being sought in connection with the incident.  The individual concerned is in police custody and has been charged.”

“We are now focussed on ensuring we can bring students and staff safely back on site. We’re proud of the service we provide to our students to give them opportunities in education and training.

“I can reassure everyone that this was a one-off incident and we have strategies in place to keep everyone as safe as possible, as well as giving the students the support they need to come back and join us to complete their studies successfully.”

Vicki also echoed her earlier comments, paying tribute to the staff who supported students who were on site during the events of Monday afternoon.

She added:

“I continue to remain full of admiration of our team. They pulled together on Monday and implemented all of the protocols we have in place to keep students safe.

“They’ve continued to work together to support each other and their students over the past couple of days – and they will continue to do so when students return to campus.

“We are also particularly proud of the two members of staff who acted so bravely and swiftly to apprehend the individual before the police arrived. They acted selflessly to protect their students and the college community. They have asked for privacy during this time.

“It was a very intense time for everyone involved.

“The students who were kept inside the college and who were part of the emergency evacuation were supported throughout by our staff and counselling services have been available to them this week. These services will continue to be in place for them to access.

“We’ve continued to be in touch with our students through our support services to check that they are ok and we will resume face-to-face counselling as soon as we can.”

Work is taking place at the college campus to repair some damage which was sustained during the evacuation and subsequent investigations, with teams working hard to ensure the campus is ready for reopening.

The college would like to thank students, staff, the Police and Emergency Services and the wider community for their ongoing support and understanding.

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