Crawley’s businesses, of all sizes, are vital to the economic prosperity of our Town including providing jobs for Crawley people as well as generating economic activity and prosperity in the wider region. Crawley Labour are deeply concerned that the government’s approach to business support through this latest lockdown does not match the scale of need. Many firms, both large and small, have stepped up throughout the crisis whilst suffering months of closure or disrupted trade. With the UK having suffered the worst recession of any major economy, businesses find themselves in a perilous position at the start of 2021. The government’s sticking-plaster approach to supporting these businesses has left firms hanging by a thread, with less support than they had at the start of the crisis, despite the worse economic situation they find themselves in.
Nationally businesses face a £50 billion bombshell in April when current support schemes come to an end, which will cost jobs and hamper recovery at a critical moment. Labour want to see an immediate, smart extension to the furlough scheme, an extension of business rates relief for retail, hospitality and leisure, and a continuation of the 5% reduced rate of VAT for hospitality tourism and culture. Crawley Businesses cannot wait until the budget for the Chancellor to act.
We are calling on the government to stand by its commitment to do ‘whatever it takes’ by helping businesses and workers through this next phase of the crisis – including finally addressing the 3 million people currently excluded from support, and getting control of the virus so businesses can reopen in a safe and effective manner.
Cllr Peter Smith
Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development