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Gatwick Express suspended from Monday until further notice

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From Monday, 30 March, the Gatwick Express service will be temporarily suspended until further notice, in response to a significant fall in passenger numbers at the airport and to help keep other trains running.

Southern and Thameslink trains will continue to serve Gatwick.

Further reductions will be made to Southern, Thameslink, and Great Northern services from Monday, 30 March, as part of the phased timetable changes agreed with Government to maintain train services for key workers.

Govia Thameslink Railway Chief Operating Officer Steve White said:

“In this national emergency, we and the rest of the rail industry are doing everything we can to keep essential services running for key workers on whom we all depend.

“These changes will release our staff to concentrate their efforts on keeping these essential services running. Thameslink and Southern trains will continue to serve Gatwick.

“Let me repeat the core message from our Government and Public Health England: travel only if it is absolutely essential.

“Once again, I want to thank the key workers, the doctors, nurses, police and other emergency workers, for what they are doing for us all. I also want to thank railway colleagues who are working so hard to keep trains running.

“To check your journey next week please check online with National Rail Enquiries where the revised timetables will be in place from the weekend. Please note that Coronavirus is having a major impact on us all and there may be further changes so check before your travel.”

Coronavirus

Coronavirus: Parking charges scrapped for all NHS workers and social care staff

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The government have announced that they will cover the costs of providing free car parking to NHS staff working in hospitals during the coronavirus pandemic.

It comes as the Local Government Secretary has agreed local councils will also offer free car parking to all NHS workers and social care staff during the coronavirus outbreak.

Crawley Borough Council announced that they are now providing free parking for NHS, social care staff and volunteers at their town centre car park. Read about this here.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said:

“Our NHS is facing an unprecedented challenge, and I will do everything I can to ensure our dedicated staff have whatever they need during this unprecedented time.

So we will provide free car parking for our NHS staff who are going above and beyond every day in hospitals across England.

My enormous gratitude goes out to the many NHS Trusts and other organisations already providing free car parking and I urge other Trusts to do the same with our backing.

We will do what is needed to protect the NHS, support our health and care staff, and save lives as we tackle COVID-19.”

NHS Trusts are responsible for setting car parking charges locally, and the Health Secretary is urging all Trusts to immediately make use of government funding to abolish parking charges for their staff during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Health Secretary Matt Hancock and NHS Chief Executive Simon Stevens both also praised those NHS Trusts who are already providing free car parking to staff working tirelessly on the frontline.

NHS chief executive Sir Simon Stevens said:

“Our NHS staff are working round the clock gearing up to deal with this unprecedented global health threat, which will be a major challenge for health services across the world, and we have listened to what they have told us would make their lives easier.

Free parking will make a big difference for hundreds of thousands of frontline staff, but this is just the start, and we will setting out further support offers over the coming days and weeks, to ensure the NHS looks after those who look after all of us.”

Following an incredible response from volunteers and retired NHS staff coming forwards to work on the frontline, some hospitals may also require additional car parking capacity.

Under new measures agreed by Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP, all councils in England and the Local Government Association critical key workers will also be able to use council parking bays without time restriction or charge.

Local Government Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said:

“Our NHS staff and social care workers are working round the clock to save lives and should not have to worry about the cost or time restrictions of parking.

Which is why, I’ve agreed with the LGA and councils in England to provide free car parking, on council owned on-street spaces and car parks.

By working together we are able to support these heroes as they play a front line role in our national effort to tackle the coronavirus crisis.

The changes will apply to all on-street parking and open, council-run car parks including pay and display and will suspend charges for health workers, social care workers and NHS volunteers.

Councils will set up local arrangements so NHS and care workers and volunteers can provide suitable evidence that they can display in their windscreen to ensure they avoid parking tickets.

Many councils have already suspended parking charges for key workers as part of the national effort to tackle coronavirus.

Local councils will continue to carry out crucial parking enforcement locally to ensure the public are kept safe and that the roads remain clear for emergency and essential services.

The National Car Parking Group confirmed earlier it will also provide NHS staff free parking at all 150 of their car parks in England. Ministers are also urging all businesses and other organisations located near hospitals to work with their local NHS Trusts to consider allowing NHS staff use their car parks.

Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:

Already, many councils have suspended parking charges in council-run car parks and for on-street parking and have waivered all fines on appeal for critical workers.

Councils agree and have worked with government to develop this scheme that now means no health worker, social care worker or anyone volunteering for the NHS, should have to pay parking charges as they tackle the coronavirus and support communities.

These critical workers are all doing vital and highly-valued work to support the most vulnerable in our society and councils want to do all they can to support them.”

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