Henry Smith MP – Westminster Report – October 2020
The new Job Entry Targeted Support scheme launched in Sussex this week as part of the £30 billion Plan for Jobs.
Under the scheme, more support will be made available for people who claim Universal Credit to ensure they can return to work quickly. This includes specialist advice on how to move into growing sectors, as well as CV and interview coaching.
To deliver the Plan, the Department for Work & Pensions is recruiting an additional 13,500 Work Coaches, doubling the total number to 27,000 this financial year. These positions are now being advertised and I welcome assurances that this will mean more Work Coaches at Crawley Jobcentre.
Throughout the course of this year we have seen so many aspects of day-to-day life affected by COVID-19, with few being more poignant than the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.
With the pandemic impacting some of the more traditional and familiar ways we remember, I am keen to raise awareness of how we can continue to support the Royal British Legion in a safe and socially distant manner.
From requesting Poppies in the Post to putting a Printable Poppy in your window, there are many ways to show our support at this time.
Airport testing: I first called for coronavirus screening at Gatwick Airport in January and will be following closely the work of the Department for Transport’s new Task Force which is considering how a testing regime for international arrivals could be implemented, and what more can be done to facilitate business and tourist travel.
This body will be reporting to the Prime Minister and I continue to urge for a solution which supports Crawley and Gatwick workers, businesses and consumers alike.
Lifetime Skills Guarantee: As the economy changes and the effects of COVID-19 continue, the Government is right to develop a long-term plan to ensure that people have the skills to find and create new and better jobs. The Lifetime Skills Guarantee will provide adults in England without an A-Level or equivalent qualification the opportunity to take up a free and fully-funded college course.
People utilising this offer will be provided with skills which are valued by employers and the chance to study at a time and location which suits their own circumstances. This offer will be paid for through the National Skills Fund, itself a commitment made in the manifesto I stood on at the last General Election.
UK Parliament Week 2020: Encouraging community groups in Crawley to hold events to mark UK Parliament Week, an annual festival that engages people around the country with Parliament, explores what it means to them and empowers them to get involved.
Those who sign up for UK Parliament Week will be sent a free kit packed with resources, including a booklet, bunting, a ballot box, a poster, stickers and more, which can be tailored for different organisations.
Crawley COVID-19 business support: Businesses across Crawley have benefitted from over £92.7 million worth of loans since the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
This includes 1,724 Bounce Back Loans – 100 per cent government-backed loans which are interest-free for the first 12 months – worth over £51.4 million. In addition, 102 loans have been offered in Crawley at a value of more than £41.2 million through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Scheme.
So far, the Government has provided over £200 billion throughout its economic response to coronavirus to support jobs and businesses in the UK.
Tax-free sales: As Crawley MP and Chair of the Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group I am calling on Government to reconsider the decision to end tax-free sales to air passengers, of vital importance to the aviation sector.
A-Levels: Questioned the Education Secretary in Parliament over the actions Government is taking to ensure next year's A-Level cohort are not disrupted by the effects of coronavirus.
Educational attainment: Asked the Equalities Minister about the importance of ensuring all students can reach their full potential, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Walk to School Week: This month I encouraged Crawley pupils to take part in Walk to School Week, to try healthier and greener ways to travel.
With my best wishes
Member of Parliament for Crawley