The Spring Statement and meeting Crawley headteachers

While much focus has understandably been on Brexit this past week, there are other issues taking place over the last few days including the Spring Statement and meeting Crawley headteachers to raise local school issues in Parliament.

On Brexit I continue to use my vote and voice in Parliament to carry out the majority will of Crawley and people nationally to leave the EU without delay.

I welcome confirmation in last week’s Spring Statement that the National Living Wage will rise next month to £8.21, an annual pay rise of £690 for a full-time worker. Almost four fifths of jobs created since 2010 are full-time, with 2.6 per cent of our workforce on zero-hour contracts. There is more to be done of course; the Personal Allowance will be rising in April to £12,500 as part of measures to cut tax for 32 million people.

The balanced approach to the economy will see the deficit £3 billion lower than expected this year, down to 1.1 per cent of GDP from almost 10 per cent under Labour.

Action to tackle knife crime will see £100 million of additional funding for police. Support for public services will see spending increasing above inflation from 2020.

It was also announced that free sanitary products will be provided for girls in secondary school to tackle period poverty. This is particularly welcome given the campaigning on this issue by students at Thomas Bennett Community College.

While a funding increase for Crawley schools of over 10 per cent is welcome, they would be aided by multi-year funding settlements so they can better plan for the future – this was the message of Crawley headteachers which I spoke about last week in the House of Commons.

Henry Smith MP