Parliamentary constituencies are made up of about 100,000 individuals, and as well as legislating and scrutinising the Government in Westminster, my role as an MP also consists of helping those Crawley residents with issues they may be facing, whatever their background, young or old, whether they voted for me or not.
I believe that assisting Crawley’s corporate constituents is important too because our local firms not only create wealth and expand our economy but also provide essential employment for my resident constituents as well. Therefore, I regularly visit and meet with Crawley based companies, from international leading corporate brands, such as Virgin Atlantic headquartered in Manor Royal, to local sole traders, like Piranha window cleaning services of Broadfield, and all types of enterprise in between.
For example, in the last fortnight I have met with Gatwick Airport because I have secured a debate in Parliament calling for improved rail links in addition to the £53 million station upgrade there. I also toured the state of the art Siemens hearing aid plant at their Crawley base and discussed the new Thameslink rolling stock contract they are securing which will be at Three Bridges and create over 3,000 jobs.
I was pleased to officially cut the celebration cake at The Entertainer toy store in County Mall the other day in thanks at their employees being recognised for generous charitable giving and had an informative morning spent discussing various issues with management and staff at Enterprise Rent-a-Car, located in Three Bridges and Gatwick.
Recently I have been in communication with the Chief Executive of Nestle about the move their UK and Ireland head office is making to the Borough and was delighted to host Work & Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith, on a tour of world leading oncology equipment producer, Elekta in Manor Royal.
Last Friday I addressed the annual general meeting of the Gatwick Diamond Business Association about how Crawley based companies are leading the economic recovery with our town being at the centre of the country’s most successful Local Enterprise Partnership.
I was pleased to report action by the Government such as increased access to finance with over £214.9 billion of finance to businesses last year, including the Enterprise Capital Funds (over £340 million) of venture capital investment committed for small and medium enterprises, the National Loan Guarantee Scheme (up to £20 billion) and the Business Finance Partnership (£1.2 billion to help businesses raise funds from non-bank sources).
The Government have also scrapped or improved over half the 1,200 regulations considered as part of the Red Tape Challenge, introduced a regime of ‘one-in-one-out’ for new regulations, ensuring there is no net increase in the cost of regulations to business and exempted smaller businesses from EU regulatory burdens.
Finally, on employee skills, the Government investment locally has meant a 74% increase in apprenticeship places in Crawley over the past year creating opportunities for local young people to access the very best employment opportunities in our global leading commercial sector right here in our Borough.