The announcements in the Chancellor’s Budget last week mean that the UK’s response to Covid-19 will exceed £400 billion. An enormous sum meeting the challenges of the pandemic, this support will directly help workers, families and businesses locally.
Crawley will receive over £21 million from the Government’s Towns Fund through a new Town Deal. The Towns Fund supports long-term economic and social regeneration as well as immediate recovery from the impacts of Covid-19.
Projects such as the Crawley Innovation Centre can now become a reality as a result of the Government’s levelling up agenda.
On aviation; the freeze in Air Passenger Duty for short-haul flights will benefit flights departing from Gatwick Airport, which is also set to benefit from the extension of the Airport & Ground Operations Support Scheme through support with fixed costs such as business rates.
As Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group Chair I continue to call for sector-specific support.
Having urged Government to extend further the furlough scheme, I welcome the Chancellor listening to my representations on behalf of Crawley and Gatwick workers by continuing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme until the end of September.
This support has been a lifeline for many firms, supporting more than 11 million jobs nationally, worth over £53 billion. We know that our economy will not bounce back in a day, and I welcome the certainty provided by the continuation of the scheme for a further five months.
Crawley and Gatwick firms will also benefit from the extension of the business rates holiday, VAT cut and stamp duty holiday.
The Chancellor also confirmed a fourth grant for self-employed workers covering February to April, with a fifth grant covering May to September. Over 600,000 people, many of whom were newly self-employed in 2019-20, and who filed their tax return by 2nd March, may now be eligible for both grants.
The UK will have spent more than £33 billion on support for self-employed workers during the pandemic, among the most generous in the world.
Income Tax, National Insurance Contributions and VAT will not be increased. All alcohol duties will be frozen for the second year in a row, and fuel duty will be frozen for the eleventh year in a row, saving motorists £1,600 since 2010.
Last week alongside the Employment Minister I attended the opening of a new Crawley Job Centre at Forest Gate. Until we can get our local economy growing strongly again after the damage of the pandemic, I welcome this extra Department of Work & Pensions area support with a doubling of Work Coaches to assist people.
The Budget goes even further by doubling the incentive payment to small businesses to take on apprentices of any age to £3,000, alongside £126 million to triple the number of traineeships next year.
Henry Smith MP