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Aldershot in the doldrums - now M&S is closing

A campaign to save a big brand, and the town centre in general, is underway in the home of the British Army.

Marks and Spencer has announced it's proposing to close its store in Union Street in Aldershot after 80 years of business - and 45 employees could lose their jobs.

Butt the announcement has raised the question of whether this is a bigger issue, and whether the town centre itself is in decline. Divya Kohli reports

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5-day strike called by Southern engineers

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union will walk out from 5pm on July 12. They will also ban overtime over the weekend of July 10-12. The move follows a 9-1 vote for strikes among union members at Southern, which operates commuter and other services between London and the Sussex coast.

The RMT said hundreds of engineers were involved in the dispute and warned that the strike will hit services. Officials said under the 2013 pay settlement, a working group of union reps and managers was set up to find productivity measures that could cut the working week.

The union said the group could not find any way to bring in a 35-hour week with no extra cost to the company. Productivity measures were subsequently brought in for engineers without leading to a reduction in the working week, said the RMT.

General Secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT will not stand by while agreed policies, procedures and agreements are unilaterally ripped up by Southern and promises on the reduction in the working week are kicked aside despite increases in productivity.

"As a result we declared a dispute and our engineering grades have now delivered a massive vote for industrial action and that programme of strikes and overtime bans will begin next week.

"In all of this, management have failed to show our members the respect they deserve as skilled and dedicated workers. We have made every effort to talk to the company about these issues, but have got nowhere. The only option we have it to use industrial action.

"Southern is a company intensively under the spotlight over its performance at the moment and RMT will not have our members left unrewarded as they hit work targets and then face a barrage of attacks on working conditions and procedures. RMT remains available for talks."

MPs from the south react to Heathrow decision

Members of Parliament from the south given their reaction to a report recommending Heathrow is given the go-ahead to expand.

The findings were published by the Airport Commission which took three years to reach its conclusion which looked at the best way to increase the country's airport capacity.

Reaction below from: Phillip Lee (Bracknell), Adam Afriyie (Windsor), Boris Johnson (Mayor of London), Harriet Harman (acting Labour leader), Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion), Nick Herbert (Arundel and South Downs), Henry Smith (Crawley), Carwyn Cox (Windsor and Maidenhead Council), Ranil Jayawardena (North East Hampshire) and Patrick Mcloughlin (Transport Secretary).

MPs from the south east react to Heathrow decision

Members of Parliament from the south east have expressed their reaction to a report saying a third runway at Heathrow is the best option to increase the country's airport capacity.

The findings were published by the Airport Commission which took three years to reach its conclusion.

Reaction from: Henry Smith (Crawley), Jeremy Quinn (Horsham), Tom Tugendhat (Tonbridge and Malling), Caroline Ansell (Eastbourne), Nus Ghani (Wealden), Adam Afriyie (Windsor) and Kelly Tolhurst (Rochester and Strood)

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Kent County Council 'delighted' over runway announcement

We are delighted that the Airports Commission, in seeking to increase airport capacity, has not opted for a further runway at Gatwick. This will come as a huge relief for thousands of residents in West Kent.

Kent would have suffered negative impacts in terms of increased aviation noise from more than a doubling of aircraft movements.

Aviation noise in West Kent from Gatwick’s current single runway configuration is already unacceptable and a potential doubling of this impact with a second runway would have been intolerable.

– Councillor Matthew Balfour, Kent County Council
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