LETTER: Inclusive not elitist

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At its January Council Meeting Mid Sussex District Council (MSDC) decided to oppose a second runway at Gatwick Airport. Irrespective of the rights or wrongs of a second runway, it is the Council’s main reasons for opposing the scheme that are objectionable.

MSDC repeatedly states that any jobs created as a result of a second runway are to be relatively low-skilled. As usual MSDC demonstrated no compelling evidence to support the view. MSDC also argues that low-skilled workers will either have to commute or subsidised housing will have to be provided. It is also worried about the level of support that may be necessary in the form of benefits such as Council Tax Benefit and health provision. And of course it has no plan B to improve infrastructure if the Davies Commission recommends Gatwick expansion.MSDC states that it wishes to build on the skilled nature of the existing workforce and therefore considers that the provision of lower-skilled jobs does not fit well with the ambitions that MDSC has for its economy or community. I find this sort of language elitist and divisive. It is reminiscent of Alabama in the sixties, rather than Sussex in the 21st century.

Our society should accept and promote lower-skilled workers and train them into high-

skilled workers. To imagine that everyone who is low skilled also lacks drive, imagination and a will to improve is snobbery of the highest order.

I support employers paying the living wage and an inclusive society. We should all be

working together across society to make things better for all, not a few. We should not be

excluding people from Mid Sussex on the basis that they are low-skilled. To be highly

regarded as a place to live Mid Sussex should show it is inclusive, not elitist.

Pam Haigh

Chair Mid Sussex Labour Party