Gazette letters: Arsenal Football Club, citizens’ assembly, Macmillan coffee morning and TV licences

Arsenal Football Club could be making 55 people redundant.

Arsenal Football Club could be making 55 people redundant. - Credit: PA

I am writing as chair of the Highbury West Labour Party branch to express our concern at the announcement on August 5 by Arsenal Football Club that a consultation period would take place with a view to making 55 people redundant, writes Eoghan Beecher, chair, Highbury West Labour Party.

It is of serious concern, both the nature and timing of this announcement, given it has been widely reported that playing staff had agreed a pay cut to protect jobs within the club and coming so soon after an inspirational FA Cup win.

Arsenal Football Club provides a valuable service to this community, bringing us together to support the team’s endeavours, providing a boost to local businesses that service fans and providing jobs for local people.

We also note the efforts made by Arsenal in providing emergency food aid throughout the Covid crisis.

We believe the club is more than a business, it is a community, not just in the Highbury and Islington areas but around the world, and has a responsibility to set a positive example to other clubs and businesses that hold the club in high regard.

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The Highbury West Labour Party urge Arsenal Football Club, in the strongest possible terms, to reconsider this course of action and give a commitment to the hard-working staff of the club, who make success possible, that their jobs are safe and secure.

Gazing down from the sunny uplands of the moral high ground it is interesting to note a couple of things as the car lobby enjoy their last huzzah before being confined to the dustbin of history (“Protests continue against Islington’s People Friendly Streets”), writes Sebastian Sandys, Bunhill Extinction Rebellion.

Given how much they have clearly learned from Extinction Rebellion about the art of protest (traffic swarming, disruptive marches, moderately witty placards etc) it is both surprising and disappointing how little else they have taken on board.

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To see people taking to the streets defending their right to behave in ways that so irreparably damage their children’s health is frankly just weird.

Second, to see the opprobrium being heaped upon the head of one single councillor (Cllr Champion, executive member for Transport) it would be tempting to feel a little bit sorry for her.

However that is a feature of the toxic system we all have to live under. Important decisions and debates like this one being focussed on a single individual is in nobody’s interest.

I wonder if Cllr Champion now regrets the speed with which her boss, council leader Richard Watts, rejected our demand for a Citizen’s Assembly to examine these questions when we first made it over a year ago.

With love and rage.

I am writing to ask your readers to raise a mug for Macmillan Cancer Support’s 30th annual Coffee Morning so we can provide vital support to people with cancer, who need it now more than ever, writes Emma Tingley, Macmillan’s strategic partnerships manager for London.

This year’s Macmillan Coffee Morning will be on Friday, September 25, but we are encouraging people to get involved whenever and wherever they can by hosting a virtual or socially distanced event.

Nothing stops a Macmillan Coffee Morning!

Before Covid-19, many patients told Macmillan being diagnosed with cancer and going through treatment was the scariest thing that they could imagine.

These anxieties and concerns have not gone away during the pandemic – they’ve been made worse - meaning Macmillan needs support from people in London more than ever to provide the vital support people living with cancer rely on.

Macmillan are doing everything we can to offer medical, emotional and financial support to people living with cancer and our work is almost entirely funded by people’s donations.

Every penny raised by Coffee Morning helps Macmillan to provide this support, which is needed now more than ever before.

Readers can sign up now by visiting or by searching for Macmillan Coffee Morning.

For support, information, or just a chat, you can call Macmillan free on 0808 808 0000 or visit

Thousands of pensioners have started to receive letters that ends their automatic right to a free TV licence, writes June Bennett, Benefit Answers.

A recent campaign by Benefitanswers to highlight the fact that four out of ten households that could receive pension credit are not claiming the benefit identified over £350,000 in unclaimed benefits and that half of those checked would be entitled to a free TV licence!

So, if you have ever wondered if you could be eligible for pension credit now is the time to find out if only to save the cost of the TV licence! For a free check telephone 0330 223 4773. All it will cost you is the time to make a telephone call and the price of a stamp!

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