Latest Bulletin - Sign up for Henry Smith MP's email updates

Henry Smith MP – Westminster Report – June 2019

Breathing Space scheme

For a period of 60 days, people in problem debt will be protected from enforcement action, and have interest on their debt frozen. During this time, individuals would be expected to use the help of debt advice services to find a sustainable resolution.

Problem debt, often caused by sudden events such as the death of a family member or losing a job, can place a great burden on families and individuals in addition to being a cause of stress or mental health issues.

People in mental health crisis will see further protections while they receive treatment. Those receiving NHS treatment for mental health crisis will not need to seek debt advice during the 60 days, therefore removing a barrier to access. Indeed, they will continue to receive the same Breathing Space protections during their treatment.

Columns

The sacrifices made during the Second World War: This month saw events in Portsmouth and Normandy commemorating the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings. On 6th June 1944 the start of Operation Overlord saw Allied forces led by British, American and Canadian troops commence the liberation of north-west Europe from Nazi Germany’s occupation.

It is vital that we honour the sacrifices of the Allied nations, and it is right that these heroes are remembered by today’s leaders coming together. It is important we remember the service of those 75 years ago on an international, national and local level.

The importance of remembering what has been given for our freedom is not lost on me. The Palace of Westminster was bombed during the Second World War, and the arch leading to the House of Commons chamber was rebuilt at Churchill’s suggestion, from the original bomb-scarred stone.

This continues to offer a reminder to myself and other MPs, and indeed to a whole range of visitors to Parliament, of the impact of war and the strength of those who emerged victorious.

Boris and Brexit: Every time the British people have been asked for a view on Brexit, their position has been clear. The 2016 referendum result delivered the largest vote in British history to leave the EU, the 2017 general election saw 589 MPs elected to Parliament on promises to deliver Brexit, with these positions only being reinforced by the results of the European Parliament elections last month.

With this in mind I am supporting Boris Johnson to be the next Leader of the Conservative Party and UK Prime Minister, as he will deliver the people’s decision on Brexit without further delay.

I believe we will leave with a deal that is good for the future of the UK as well as our EU partners, and this is what I will continue to support in Parliament.

The House of Commons voted to hold the 2016 referendum on EU membership – the Government at the time spent over £9 million of taxpayers’ money urging people to vote to remain – but the decision of the people has not yet been enacted. This will be just one responsibility of the new Prime Minister.

Other news

Support for rail passengers: Asking Crawley’s rail passengers to get involved with helping to decide how local stations can spend their share of a £15 million Passenger Benefit Fund – a fine levied by the Government on train operator Govia Thameslink Railway (Southern Railway and Thameslink) as a result of the May 2018 timetable disruption.

A total of £290,000 for local passenger improvement projects was announced earlier in the year, following delays endured by train users at Three Bridges, Crawley, Ifield and Gatwick Airport stations last year. I held a public meeting a fortnight ago and I continue to urge for decisions to be made at as local a level as possible.

Support for NHS staff: This month I questioned the Department of Health & Social Care to ensure that specialist clinicians in areas such as blood cancer and heart disease are properly supported so there is training for those personnel to tackle these conditions.

Crawley Post Office: Sought assurances in the House of Commons that the Government will apply pressure on the Post Office to properly resource its branch in Crawley town centre, following reports earlier this week about a lack of staff.

Tackling climate change: The Government laid draft legislation to set a new net zero greenhouse gas emissions target for Britain, to be delivered by 2050. Following the announcement I questioned the Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy Secretary in the House of Commons on the support available to Crawley’s aviation industry to enhance our position as an island trading nation while leading the world on environmental protection.

This week in Westminster I was pleased to meet local students taking part in the ‘The Time Is Now’ march for our environment.

UK leadership on the global stage has included continuing momentum of the Paris Agreement by offering to host the 26th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP26) in 2020, and advancing the work of the International Climate Fund to help the world's poorest adapt to climate change and promote cleaner, greener economic growth.

Small business support: Welcoming new figures which show that 94 Start Up Loans have been awarded in Crawley, with firms receiving over £640,000 in support.

Since 2012, the Start Up Loans programme has issued nearly 65,000 loans to entrepreneurs and small businesses across the country, helping them to grow and create well-paying jobs in their local area. I’m urging more small and start up businesses in Crawley to apply for this support, which will help them to boost their productivity and create new jobs.

Using AI to support patients: As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Heart & Circulatory Diseases I questioned the Health & Social Care Secretary about the Government’s commitment to using artificial intelligence to support patients, following the launch of the APPG’s report 'Putting Patients at the Heart of Artificial Intelligence’.

To keep up to date with my work standing up for Crawley please visit: www.henrysmith.info/news. Additionally you can follow my daily activities via FacebookTwitterLinkedInYouTube

With my best wishes

Henry Smith
Member of Parliament for Crawley