End of an era for jobs in Ipswich

CRANE Ltd has been part of the Ipswich landscape for the best part of a century, and at one stage was the largest private-sector employer in town.So the news that manufacturing in Ipswich is to cease marks the end of an era for the town and is a cause of real sadness, not just for those working there today but everyone who has been connected with the company in the past.

CRANE Ltd has been part of the Ipswich landscape for the best part of a century, and at one stage was the largest private-sector employer in town.

So the news that manufacturing in Ipswich is to cease marks the end of an era for the town and is a cause of real sadness, not just for those working there today but everyone who has been connected with the company in the past.

Thousands of people have worked at Crane in the past - with each of their families relying on the wages brought in to put food on their tables.

Confirmation that the company is not going to look for anywhere else in the town or immediate area to maintain manufacturing in Suffolk is a major blow to the economy.

While the balance of employment in Ipswich has changed substantially over the last few decades, with most jobs now being in sectors such as insurance, banking, or other services, the links with traditional industries has always been important.

But many of these have now gone. Great names from Ipswich's past like Cocksedge and Ransome and Rapier went during the 1980s and 1990s.

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Now another cornerstone of Ipswich's industrial past is leaving town. The head office and a few dozen white-collar jobs may remain, but the heart of Crane will be leaving for Hitchin . . . and China.

It is a sad day for everyone in the town, but especially for the 210 people who face the prospect of a bleak new year of searching for jobs in an engineering sector that is shrinking faster than a cashmere sweater in a washing machine.

WARNINGS that Felixstowe town centre could become a soft touch for vandals, thieves, and raiders because of the lack of CCTV cameras have to be taken seriously in the wake of Monday's raid on Woolworths.

It now seems that the raiders got away with a very substantial amount of money, £26,000, which was being held in the store after the busy pre-Christmas weekend.

There is no doubt that cameras in places like central Ipswich and in other towns and cities across the country have helped to deter criminals and make shoppers feel more secure as they get on with their legitimate business.

A good CCTV system in the town would have made the job of the police in tracking down the raiders much easier and could well have dissuaded them from coming to the town in the past.

While there are concerns about civil liberties from cameras, much more important is the civil liberties of shoppers and shop staff to live their lives free from the threat of becoming victims of crime.

AMID all the activity on and off the field at Portman Road at this exceptionally busy time of the year, it was great to see manager Jim Magilton and first team stars Pablo Counago, Alex Bruce and Fabian Wilnis take time out to visit children facing Christmas in hospital.

Things might be changing at Ipswich Town, but it is good to see that its important links with the local community remain as strong as ever.

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