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Shadow Chancellor comes to Gatwick as calls come to save local jobs

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Visiting an empty Gatwick terminal, Labour Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds joined Crawley’s Council Leader and Labour’s Leader in West Sussex in calling for a plan to save Crawley’s jobs

With so much of the local economy connected to aviation, it is predicted that the coronavirus pandemic will lead to higher job losses in Crawley than any other town. Thousands of redundancies have already been announced at major local employers such as Virgin Atlantic, Easyjet, and Swissport, while some companies such as British Airways have used the crisis as an opportunity to impose drastic changes to working conditions.

For months, local politicians, businesses and trade organisations have been calling for Government action to avoid mass unemployment and to rebuild Crawley’s economy – so far without success.

From the start of August the furlough support scheme will only cover 60% of a worker’s salary. With Government flight restrictions severely limiting the ability of the sector to compete, many employers will have to choose between maintaining a payroll they can no longer afford or making big cuts to their local workforce. The Government has to act now to save Crawley’s jobs.

Anneliese Dodds MP said:

“Sectors hardest hit by Covid-19, such as aviation, need their own deal to protect jobs and working conditions. Labour has already set out a six-condition plan for aviation which would save thousands of jobs connected to the sector in Crawley, while forcing companies to clean up their act on tax avoidance and the environment.”

Cllr Peter Lamb, Crawley Council Leader responded:

“I’m very grateful to the Shadow Chancellor for meeting us today and lending her support to our call that the Government acts now to save local jobs and protect working conditions. We are just days away from the furlough scheme winding down, the Government can’t afford to delay any longer.”

Cllr Michael Jones, West Sussex Labour Leader added:

“This isn’t just an issue for the area immediately surrounding Gatwick, many industries and jobs are linked to the airport right across the region, including all of West Sussex. 

“We must also fully support those campaigning to stop companies like British Airways trying to force through the rehiring of their remaining workers on worse terms and conditions.  It’s massively unacceptable for the Government to allow anyone to use the furlough scheme and then act in this way, which is why locally we are backing the aims of the BA Betrayal campaign one hundred percent.”

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‘Please come forward with information no matter how small’ Police appeal as E-Fit of attempted rape suspect released

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Police have released an E-fit image of a man sought in connection with the attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl in Crawley.

Between 7pm and 7.15pm on Tuesday (March 9), the teenager was walking her dog along the pathway from Overdene Drive towards the tunnel that runs underneath the A23 and follows on to Quantock Close.

She turned around before the end of the tunnel and walked back along the path to Overdene Drive. As she did so, she crossed paths with a man who grabbed her and attempted to rape her.

The victim was able to break free and shout for help, causing the man to flee the scene in the direction of the tunnel. The victim is being supported by specialist officers. 

The man was described as white, in his late teens to late 30s, 5’ 9” to 5’ 10”, with dark eyes, short dark coloured hair and short dark stubble. He spoke with an eastern European accent and was wearing dark clothing.

Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Allana Hughes said:

“We are appealing for anyone who recognises this man, or anyone who witnessed the sexual assault or any suspicious behaviour at this location around the time of the incident, to make contact with us.

“We would particularly like to hear from people who were in Quantock Close, The Dingle or surrounding roads around this time or anyone who may have dashcam, ring doorbell or CCTV footage which might have captured the suspect fleeing the scene.

“We have increased our patrols in the area and have been conducting house-to-house enquiries alongside investigating any potential lines of enquiry.

“Please come forward to us with any information which you think could help our investigation, no matter how small.”

Information can be passed to Sussex Police online or by calling 101 quoting Operation Stockbridge.

Alternatively, people can get in touch anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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