Henry Smith MP, Crawley Bulletin, January 2017
9th January 2017 marked the 70th anniversary of Crawley being designated a new town.
As part of the rebuilding following the Second World War, and under the provision of the 1946 New Towns Act, it was announced that the villages of Three Bridges and Ifield and the small market town of Crawley would be brought together as one new town. I was pleased to mention this celebration during House of Commons debates on the NHS and National Citizen Service, please see below for further details.
Perhaps we sometimes underestimate the facilities and opportunities we have on our doorstep. A global airport, internationally-recognised sporting facilities at K2, a shopping centre which attracts customers from across the area, a club enjoying its sixth successive season in the Football League, a host of international corporations with their UK base at Manor Royal and small businesses which are the heart of our local economy.
Our borough’s motto is ‘I Grow and I Rejoice’ – in this spirit we can continue to go forward as a community.
Blood Cancer: Continuing my work as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer. Last week we held our inaugural public meeting, which included presentations from clinicians and patients, as well as a speech from the Community Health & Care Minister, David Mowat MP. The 137 types of blood cancer are, combined, the fifth most common cancers in the UK and the third biggest cancer killer.
Battle of Passchendaele centenary: Descendants of those who fought in the battle are invited to take part in a public ballot for tickets to attend the main commemoration at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Tyne Cot Cemetery on 31st July, the first day of the Battle. The CWGC are also holding an internship programme to encourage young people, without the personal link to the First World War, to become involved in the commemorations.
Mental health: Writing about the Prime Minister’s plans to improve our country’s approach to mental health. This includes more support for young people and removing injustices faced by those who require proof of their disorder.
Looking to 2017: Supporting the Technical & Further Education Bill, which looks to ensure employers are at the heart of technical education, and to strengthen the further education system delivering the skills our economy will need in the years ahead.
70th anniversary: Across seven decades we’ve seen innovation throughout our continually-expanding Borough, ranging from the start-ups at the heart of our economy, to the multi-nationals providing goods, services and employment for thousands. We now have a new local media outlet, and I’m delighted that Crawley News 24 have asked me to be a contributor.
Year in review: Looking back at 2016, including working alongside local MPs regarding the ongoing Southern Rail disruption, voting to leave the EU, a new Prime Minister, and ongoing efforts for school funding reform.
Returning health services: Welcomed the opening of Crawley Hospital’s new Clinical Assessment Unit and Piper Ward. In a Commons debate on the NHS I reiterated the point that the pressures our health service is under shouldn’t be used as a political tit-for-tat – regardless of party politics we all use the NHS. It’s wrong for partisan point-scoring to take priority over constructive debate and discussion.
National Citizen Service: Speaking during the Commons debate on the National Citizen Service Bill to congratulate local NCS graduates, and to praise the work of the Crawley Town Community Foundation. NCS lasts up to four weeks, with no cost to parents who cannot afford for their child to take part. It is open to all 15 to 17-year-olds in England and Northern Ireland. There's a focus on personal and social development in a relaxed environment, including the design and delivery of a social action project.
Crawley business supporting the Royal Navy: Delighted to welcome the awarding of a contract to locally-based Thales UK for the Royal Navy’s Crowsnest system. Defence Procurement Minister Harriett Baldwin MP announced the £269 million deal for the scheme to protect new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. Work on this system will sustain 90 jobs in Crawley, out of a total of 210 across three UK sites.
MOD backing of Crawley-based Thales UK: In addition to Crowsnest, the MOD’s £271 million deal to continue to support our world-leading Wildcat helicopters will provide a further boost for the Crawley economy by sustaining highly-skilled local jobs. In addition, the MOD’s contract for support for the UK’s Atlas A400M aircraft will also benefit Crawley, with Thales as part of the supply chain. This £410 million contract secures a key part of the RAF airlift fleet until 2026. Atlas can also carry armoured vehicles; for humanitarian roles it's capable of deploying mobile cranes, excavators and large dump trucks for disaster relief operations.
Please let me know if I may be able to assist; either by contacting me at the House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, calling my office on 01293 934554, or via email directly at: email@example.com
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With my best wishes, as ever