Henry Smith MP – Westminster Report – June 2021
Standing up for the Crawley economy
This month I am reiterating my backing for the Crawley and Gatwick aviation, tourism and travel sectors and I have highlighted with the Government the importance of a safe reopening of international travel.
With Gatwick Airport in our borough it is clear for all to see just how damaging the Covid-19 pandemic has been for the local economy.
I have taken part in two parliamentary debates in recent weeks standing up for workers in Crawley.
More than 75 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered and the Government is to be credited with securing and delivering this source of hope. It is incredible that three in five adults in the UK have now had both doses of the vaccine.
In the second debate, which I secured and led last week, I told the Aviation Minister that the greatest way that Government can support the aviation, tourism and travel sectors would be to secure the safe return of international travel.
Every industry which has been affected by the pandemic wants to reopen safely rather than relying on Government handouts, and aviation, tourism and travel are no different.
Work has to take place now to ensure that the summer season can be where this industry bounces back. This is about far more than two weeks on the beach – as nice as that is! It is about our position as an outward-looking, trading nation – and what global Britain means for the rest of the world.
What we cannot afford is for this progress to be squandered. Using this country’s vaccine dividend to reopen will benefit families and individuals right across the country, especially in an aviation community like Crawley.
We need to get this right. It is about global Britain, international trade, and people’s jobs.
The UK is welcome to the best and brightest around the world: An issue of priority for all governments is maintaining the safety of our borders and ensuring that the UK is welcome to the best and brightest around the world. Britain’s new global points-based immigration system is now in place, meaning our country can attract the skills we need.
Ensuring fairness in our immigration system is an issue of importance to many people in Crawley and is one I will continue to pursue with ministers.
Why marine protection cannot wait: Our environment is being degraded at a concerning rate, both on land and at sea. In the waters around our islands, destructive industrial fishing vessels spend thousands of hours each year operating in protected areas, damaging habitats, decimating fish populations and polluting our marine environment.
The Government is starting to recognise the problem. The next, and perhaps most important, step is to act with a sense of urgency that reflects the nature and climate emergencies now facing all of us.
Free trade: What has been made clear by the people of Crawley and our whole United Kingdom at repeated times over recent years is the desire not only for our country to be a forward-thinking and outward-looking trading nation, but to have a government which gets on and ensures this is delivered.
To date, Britain has already signed some 70 trade deals worth almost £900 billion into law; showing how the UK can use the new opportunities available.
In recent days the UK and Australia have confirmed a historic new free-trade agreement (FTA). This is our country’s first major trade deal negotiated from scratch since leaving the EU and will create new opportunities for British businesses and consumers. It will remove tariffs on all British goods, open up new markets for UK services providers and tech firms, as well as making it easier for people to travel and work together.
Covid-19 vaccination programme: More than 75 per cent of all adults across the UK have now received their first Covid-19 vaccine dose.
Over 70,000 people in Crawley have received their first jab. Britain’s historic vaccination programme has helped save over 13,200 lives and taken millions out of the path of the virus, by offering vital protection against the devastating impacts of Covid-19.
The Government remains on track to offer all adults a first dose by the end of July, with all adults in England invited to come forward for their vaccine.
Thanks to the continued success of our vaccine programme, and the efforts of people in Crawley and around the country, we are making huge progress in emerging from this pandemic.
Vaccines remain our best defence against the virus, and the case for getting vaccinated has never been clearer, which is why I am encouraging everyone when they get invited, to get the jab.
I am grateful for the dedication of our key workers, the NHS, Britain’s armed forces, and the communities and volunteers working every day to deliver the vaccine in Crawley and nationwide.
Education catch-up: I questioned the Department for Education about Covid-19 pandemic catch-up support for school pupils with Dyslexia.
Women’s Health Strategy: This month I encouraged women in Crawley to respond to the Government’s call for evidence to help inform its landmark Women’s Health Strategy.
The first of its kind, the Women’s Health Strategy will address women’s health in England over the course of their lifetimes from adolescence through to older age. It will focus on health issues specific to women as well as the ways in which women experience health issues.
Illegal migrant crossings: I welcome the Government’s upcoming Sovereign Borders Bill and have asked the Home Secretary about the actions being taken now to prevent English Channel illegal migrant crossings.
Blood cancer inquiry: The All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer which I chair has launched a new inquiry into the impact of Covid-19 on blood cancer services.
We will be inviting the Government, NHS England, patient organisations, pharmaceutical companies as well as healthcare professionals to submit written and oral evidence. The perspectives of people directly affected by blood cancer will also be used to inform this inquiry.
Contributions from people living with blood cancer and medical professionals in Crawley would be welcome. Details of the inquiry are being published via the Group’s Twitter account: @APPGBloodCancer
Support for disadvantaged pupils with a disability: This month in Parliament I asked the Education Secretary about support being provided for disadvantaged pupils who also have a disability.
VAT reform: Calling for a review of UK VAT, possible now we have left the EU and are free to change our sales tax regime and introduce a more flexible system.
With my best wishes
Member of Parliament for Crawley