Henry Smith MP: helping business and falling unemployment

Henry Smith MP Crawley Observer column, Wednesday 11th March 2015

The recent record low youth unemployment in Crawley did not happen by accident. 

Across the UK, the employment rate has grown by the fastest in the G7, ahead of Germany and the US. Here in Crawley, the unemployment rate in Crawley has fallen by more than 60% since 2010.

I am pleased that the actions of the Government are having an effect here. Around 1,000 Crawley companies have benefited from the £2,000 Employment Allowance.

A number of local business owners have let me know that this has enabled them to hire more local people, and get more staff trained.

The £2,000 Employment Allowance allows firms to hire someone up to £22,400 a year, or four people working full-time on the minimum wage, without paying any employer national insurance at all.

As well as over 1,000 Crawley firms, more than 120,000 companies across the south east of England have benefited.

Similarly, the Start-Up Loans scheme has helped 66 Crawley people open their own businesses. Nationally, there have been 25,000 of these loans, worth £130 million – and over 32,000 new jobs.

The Prime Minister has pledged to triple the number of Start-Up Loans to 75,000 by 2020.

£7 billion has been allocated across the country in Local Growth Deals. This included £238 million for the Crawley-centred Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership.

Additionally, the New Enterprise Allowance has helped 90 people in Crawley leave benefits, and start their own business. 

I have consistently voted in favour of an in/out UK/EU referendum. Independent polling suggests that two thirds of business leaders back the call for a referendum

Ed Miliband’s position of denying us our say has been criticised by the Director-General of the British Chambers of Commerce. It cannot be right for a political elite to stop the people of this country having our say. 

National employers such as Airbus have stated they would remain in the United Kingdom if a referendum was called. Last Monday it was Commonwealth Day, Crawley is represented by communities from across member countries. Our unique and historic global links, along with our proximity to Europe make Great Britain a stronger trading world conduit.