Fears grow that neighbourhoods around Heathrow Airport will suffer the same fate as the mining communities if they receive no further government support.
Hounslow Council deputy leader Lily Bath said the borough’s residents, of which around 40,000 are reliant on Heathrow and its supply chain for work, have been “living in fear” over their jobs’ future.
These fears even pre-date the coronavirus pandemic due to the question of the third runway, she added.
The comments came during the inaugural Aviation Communities Summit on November 24. This brought together representatives from airport communities around the UK such as Crawley, Manchester and Glasgow, to lobby the government for extra help.
At the end of the summer in Hounslow alone, 40 per cent of its working population was recorded as either on furlough or unemployed.
Cllr Lily Bath said: “We really need to understand and recognise the needs of the community, who they are, so we can support them, but we really need to be asking for targeted support.
“I’m really concerned we may end up in a situation as we did with the mining community, this is something I fear a lot recently and I’m picking up on these fears from our communities as well.
“What I’m worried about is not just livelihoods destroyed, but also permanent job losses which will make it harder for people to get back into work.”
The Heston West ward councillor recalled how she grew up “under the flight path”, where so many people were directly or indirectly employed by the aviation industry.
“It’s something that never leaves you, you’re part of a community where so many people are relying on one particular sector,” she said.
Families within the same household and those of Asian backgrounds, the council’s second-in-command said was “not unusual” to be overrepresented in the industry.
she said there should be more national recognition of women’s contribution to the aviation sector, with a lot of older women from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds working at airports.
Citing an example of a constituent’s employment cut from five days to two days a week, she warned: “That’s not a sustainable situation for the long term, the worry is, the real danger of pushing people into poverty, and possibly homelessness as well.
“These are the sorts of people we are coming into contact with on a daily basis.”
The crunch meeting likewise heard discoveries from consultant Oxford Economics’ associate director Neil McCullough on the financial impression of Heathrow on encompassing regions.
The investigation charged by six local authorities Ealing, Hillingdon, Hounslow, Spelthorne, Slough and South Bucks secured Heathrow upheld 133,600 positions over the wards, near 10% of resident employment.
Hounslow and Hillingdon were hailed as the most dependent on work at the air terminal with a figure of 4,500 occupants’ positions related to Heathrow to be lost in 2021.