LETTER: Claims are extraordinary

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I find CAGNE’s claims that thousands of new jobs would be ‘catastrophic for local people’ extraordinary.

Now more than ever, we cannot take economic growth for granted. I firmly believe that expansion at Gatwick would bring a vital boost for the local and regional economy, not just in terms of 28,000 new jobs but also 2,500 apprenticeships for young people and huge opportunities for local businesses.

These jobs would be spread over a wide area and not just in localities close to the airport. Despite the current short term issues with trains services through Gatwick, rail capacity at the airport is set to double in just two years - when the London Bridge station transformation is complete - and then nearly treble by 2035. Should Gatwick expand, many new workers would use this transformed rail service to commute from outside the local area, including from deprived areas in south London and the south coast. Local people who currently travel into London to work would also take up many of the new jobs at the airport.

Similarly the associated infrastructure to help support these new jobs, including new homes, schools and roads, would be built across a dozen or so local authority areas and over twenty to thirty years. The airport has pledged £46.5 million to deliver this essential community infrastructure. That is £5,000 toward the infrastructure costs for each new house built because of airport expansion, which is on top of the funds the Government provides toward infrastructure costs for every new house.

More people will come to live locally because of airport expansion, but the numbers will be limited. Additional infrastructure will be provided for and the economic boost they would bring will be welcome to many.

Charles Kirwan-Taylor

Corporate Affairs and Sustainability Director, Gatwick Airport

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