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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.”

Coronavirus

BREAKING NEWS: Coronavirus cases jump 200% in one week across Crawley

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On Monday 14th Sept the new “rule of six” comes into force across England with news breaking today that children under 12 will not be exempt from it.

The new rules mean people are limited to meeting in groups no larger than six people both indoors and outdoors.

The rule ‘could’ potentially be coming slightly too late as new figures for Crawley reveal a 200% jump in recorded cases in just one week.

People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital

Data from the UK public health bodies shows that in last week (2nd – 8th Sept) there were 15 NEW cases reported in Crawley. This number does not seem a lot but when compared to the week(s) before it shows a dramatic jump.

In only the previous week there were only 5 new cases reported, with 4 separate days reporting no cases at all.

But in the past week this figure jumped with 8 reported in one day alone.

So far the worst single day for reported cases in Crawley was back on the 28th April when 19 cases were reported in a day.

To date, since recording began there have been 502 cases, with 77 of these resulting in death.

As more parts of the UK are also having to deal with stricter lock down restrictions Crawley remains below the national average of cases per 100,000 at 13. The national average is currently 18.

The towns neighbour, Horsham, saw an even greater rise of 360% with 23 cases reported between 2-8 Sept.

Across the UK an additional 3.497 cases were reported in the past 24 hours, an increase of 36% on the same day a week ago, taking the total to 365,174.

A local doctor, who asked to remain anonymous, said her and her colleagues were very worried about how too many people were downplaying the risk of infection.

“I hear every day some people talking about how the number of people in hospital through Covid are so low so we shouldn’t worry about the number of cases increasing – but we should. People need to realise the harm it can do you without putting you directly in hospital.”

But questions on how the new rules will be enforced are still not clear with new statements released from the Police that talk about ‘engaging, encouraging and explaining’ before even considering taking any action.

A source close to Sussex Police has told Crawley News 24 that there is both confusion and dismay within the ranks about who and how officers are going to contend with issues of larger groups than allowed meeting up, while juggling the increase of daily issues that are returning since the full lockdown.

Another source said they were awaiting a full outline of what powers the police really will have on Monday (14th Sept) before officers would be given full guidance on what they should do.

Sussex Police told Crawley News 24:

“As we start to see a rise in infections it is vitally important that we all follow the regulations and restrictions in place to prevent the spread of Coronavirus.

Everyone has a role to play limiting the outbreak by following the regulations, including those about gatherings which will be limited to six people both indoors and outside when the new legislation comes into force on Monday 14 September.

People need to take personal responsibility for their actions, in particular during this heath emergency, and this includes adhering to the latest government guidance.

Sussex Police will continue its approach of engaging, encouraging and explaining the current regulations and only taking enforcement action when necessary. “

Only 1 week after schools reopen, a couple of weeks after a house party alarmed residents in the town, (and Crawley Council confirming they were investigating the event), and new rules coming into force, all eyes will now be set to see just how well the town responds to the new measures and whether the rise is just a ‘blip’ or if it is a sign of a returning rise.

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