Henry Smith MP – Westminster Report – May 2018
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Standing up for Crawley workers: More than 56,000 local residents have already benefited from increases in the tax-free Personal Allowance, and the amount earned before paying income tax rose further last month to £11,850.
Raising local issues: Meeting community groups and following up in the House of Commons. One of the issues raised with me was the delay to the completion of infrastructure in new build areas like Forge Wood. I asked the Housing Minister about what the Government can do to help communities in such a situation and I welcome his assurances that developer contributions should be treated more like contracts for delivery, rather than points for discussion.
Supporting Crawley's voluntary sector: Our town is strengthened by the number of people who on a monthly, weekly and sometimes daily basis undertake voluntary work to help others.
I am grateful for the continued efforts of the Crawley Community & Voluntary Service (CCVS) who announced recently their Summer Volunteer Recruitment Fair, on Wednesday 13th June at Crawley Library, from 10am to 6.30pm.
Whatever skills you may have, and regardless of which causes you might hold dear, there will be a whole range of charities and community groups looking for like-minded people to assist their work to help others.
School exams: Good luck to Crawley pupils taking their GCSEs! Students have been working incredibly hard, as have teachers and other members of school staff. Thanks to their work to encourage and inspire local pupils, we’ve seen 37 more schools in West Sussex rated good or outstanding compared with 2010.
Much more for Crawley to achieve: In Parliament I continue to speak in support of investment in Britain’s future and our public services, and keeping taxes low for hard-working families and businesses. A typical basic rate taxpayer will pay £1,075 less in income tax in 2018-19 than a decade ago.
Taking action against criminal laser use: The Laser Misuse (Vehicles) Act which received Royal Assent earlier this month will tackle the abuse of lasers being shined or directed to dazzle or distract, and protect pilots, vehicle operators and air traffic controllers.
Having raised in Parliament the issues that have been experienced at Gatwick Airport I welcome action now which introduces tough penalties of up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine for people who target aircraft, road vehicles and boats with lasers.
These measures will make staff and passengers safer at Gatwick and the rest of Britain’s airports.
Protecting the environment: This month saw further action as part of plans to secure a Green Brexit upon this country’s departure from the European Union.
A consultation has been published on the Environmental Principles & Governance Bill. The legislation will ensure environmental protections will not be weakened as we leave the EU, as well as establishing a world-leading body to hold government to account for environmental outcomes.
Thomas Bennett Community College: Approximately a quarter of the school’s budget is being spent re-paying a PFI loan that the then Labour government forced on Crawley in 2004 for its rebuilding works without any alternative funding methods allowed.
This month I raised this issue in the House of Commons and received a commitment from the Education Secretary to meet regarding this matter which is something I will continue to pursue.
Brexit: Spoke in the House of Commons debate on future UK-EU customs arrangements. Britain is perfectly placed to be a bridge between the rest of the world and Europe, given our proximity and using the relations that we have. I believe this is why a majority of Crawley voters decided to leave the European Union. We can’t realise global free trade opportunities if we remain locked inside the customs union.
Reforming the broken energy market: Supporting measures in Parliament to protect consumers from unfair energy bills, in the first step to reforming the broken energy market. A temporary, absolute cap will be able to be set on standard variable tariffs (SVTs) and default tariffs, providing protection for the 11 million households in Great Britain who are currently on SVT or other default energy tariffs.
If the House of Lords does not delay it and the Bill achieves Royal Assent by this summer then the price cap can be in place by next winter, providing price protection for millions of customers.
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With my best wishes
Member of Parliament for Crawley