Raising local issues in Parliament

It was a pleasure to meet the Forge Wood Community Forum last month as Crawley’s newest neighbourhood continues to grow.

One of the issues raised was the delay to the completion of infrastructure in the area. Last week 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.

Earlier in the year the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government announced more than £6.4 million of funding for housing projects in Forge Wood and Crawley town centre, which are to deliver infrastructure and up to 570 homes by 2022, and 720 homes in total.

Last week I also questioned the new Home Secretary about my British Indian Ocean Territory (Citizenship) Bill, which is currently progressing through Parliament.

The Bill would simplify nationality law to allow individuals descended from the Chagos Islands to register as British Overseas Territories Citizens. This is in recognition of the fact that their parents and grandparents were forcibly exiled from that UK overseas territory under the Harold Wilson administration, through no fault of their own, as recently as the late 1960s.

Additionally, I recently met the new NHS Cancer Programme Director to discuss how the needs of blood cancer patients can often be different from those with solid tumours.

While this ‘hidden’ cancer is the third biggest cancer killer in the UK and the fifth most common cancer overall, patients had to see their GP significantly more times before being referred to hospital compared to other cancers.

Later in the week I questioned the Health & Social Care Secretary in the House of Commons over improvements which can be made to cancer screening programmes.

Blood cancer is the most common cancer among people under the age of 30 and represents one of the great public health challenges of our time. It is a cause I will continue to pursue alongside parliamentary colleagues with the Government.

Henry Smith MP