High-quality jobs for the long haul


By Mike Appleton

High-quality jobs for the long haul

There is a debate at the forefront of politics this week. A debate that will affect the UK for generations to come and will have far reaching consequences for us all.

We are of course referring to the future of Heathrow – is there something else going on today?

Last week Mayor of London Boris Johnson was selected as a parliamentary candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip at the next general election. He is 1/50 on to win the seat which has an 11,000 Conservative majority and contains a large number of Heathrow workers.

You’ll no doubt recall the Mayor using his office – and taxpayers’ cash – during the past five years to push for the closure of Heathrow, which would cost the jobs of thousands of west London residents. Despite back-pedalling furiously to gain selection in Uxbridge, he has still refused to rule out resuscitating his plans for a Thames Estuary Airport.

Mr Johnson’s ambitions know no bounds and this makes him dangerous. Yet despite his best efforts, there is a more powerful force on our side.When it comes to Heathrow expansion, politicians and passengers across Britain now stand side-by-side with thousands of businesses and unions representing millions of workers. The vast majority want the UK's hub airport to grow and succeed. Happily, the majority of local residents agree with them, according to regular independent polls and our own fantastic supporter base.

In a sharp contrast to Boris Johnson’s clumsy attempts to put local people out of work, the owners of Heathrow Airport have just announced a series of pledges that will deliver jobs, skills and economic growth to local communities.  

Heathrow’s plan could change the economic outlook of this local area forever, and for the better. Not only will the airport connect the UK to the emerging economies around the world, Heathrow has also promised to ensure that tens of thousands of new jobs will be created.

Firstly, the airport has promised to create 50,000 jobs in the local area if expansion goes ahead. These jobs have the potential to reduce unemployment by half in the five boroughs immediately surrounding Heathrow. Amazingly, the airport has also said it could end youth unemployment in the same boroughs through the creation of 10,000 apprenticeships.

The apprenticeships at the airport will be very welcome for many local people. Part of the attraction is that apprentices earn and learn at the same time, picking up skills and qualifications that will be used throughout a person’s career and not just for a six- month contract. Guaranteeing jobs for the future will also allow other businesses, shops and services in the town centres around the airport to boost their income over the years. It will also allow our local councils to plan for better services on the taxes that they can be sure of receiving.

If you know someone who will be looking for work in the future, this plan may be for you. These pledges will build on the strength and success of Heathrow as a place of high skilled, high quality employment for generations to come. 

The Mayor’s plans to close Heathrow showed us what we could have lost. This remarkable series of pledges from the airport’s owners demonstrates what local communities could gain.

So, spread the good news and make sure everyone you know goes to www.backheathrow.org/pledge and signs up to support our campaign. If you have already done this, then thank you!