A happy St. George's Day to all Crawley residents and to those further afield. The increasing trend of celebrating St. George's Day is one of the nicer developments of recent years and I will be participating along with other Labour councillors in the St. George's Day parade this Sunday.
St. George's Day offers us an opportunity to remember who we are as a country and the values which have seen us through our history, values such as the freedom and liberty we have fought for as a country since Magna Carta, the principle of standing up for what's right no matter what the odds as we did during the Battle of Britain and the belief that everyone deserves a chance in life as shown by the formation of the NHS and the Welfare State.
As we remember our nation's values we should also take the time to think of those whose protection has enabled England to remain free and prosperous, our armed forces. Those who serve often pay a heavy price for our freedom and it is right that as a country we should do what we can to help repay that debt. It is for that reason that Labour councillors successfully fought for the creation of a Community Covenant with the armed forces, pledging community support for our servicemen and women.
We would now like to take that commitment further and I can announce today that a Labour administration at Crawley Borough Council would sign up to the Veterans Interview Programme, guaranteeing an interview for veterans who apply for a job with the council, and we would work to encourage other local employers to do the same.
Veterans often have skills which are valuable to employers but hard to put across in a conventional application form, by guaranteeing an interview we can ensure that they have an opportunity to put those skills across and that servicemen and women have their contribution recognised.
Cllr Chris Oxlade
Ifield and Ifield West - Borough Councillor
Bewbush and Ifield West - County Councillor
Prospective Parliamentary Candidate