Community spirit has perhaps never been more important

It came as no surprise to hear the First Secretary of State, Dominic Raab, confirm that the lockdown measures to tackle coronavirus (COVID-19) will remain in place for at least another three weeks.

To relax any of these measures now would not only risk damage to public health, but to our economy as well.

The importance of the Crawley and Gatwick aviation sector has remained a key focal point of my calls to the Government to ensure support is provided at this time.

Community spirit has perhaps never been more important in the history of our New Town. My thanks to Crawley Town FC who will be donating more than 2,000 tickets to NHS and care staff, Royal Mail employees and supermarket workers, in addition to raffling off match-worn shirts from the record-breaking League Cup run this season with all profits going to the NHS Charities Together fund.

A few years ago I was pleased to open Inspiration Healthcare Group’s base in Crawley. I am grateful for their work, as well as that of Thales UK, in ensuring scaled-up production of ventilators to treat COVID-19 patients.

The Health & Social Care Secretary has confirmed that every social care worker who needs a COVID-19 test will be able to get one. Dedicated testing has already begun for frontline staff in addition to over 20,000 tests for NHS workers and their families.

Eligibility for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has also been widened, with more than 200,000 people expected to benefit from the cut-off point being moved from 28th February to 19th March 2020.

The worst thing that we, as a nation, could do right now is to ease up and allow the coronavirus to reach a second peak. These times are unprecedented, but by working together we will pull through. Stay at home, protect the NHS, save lives.

Henry Smith MP