With almost 23,000 Crawley residents now unemployed or waiting on furlough and SEISS to see if they have a job to go back to, the Labour Leader of Crawley Borough Council has written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for a ‘Jobs-Focused Budget’ on Wednesday.
Crawley’s economy has been hit harder by the Government’s coronavirus restrictions than that of almost any other town, with 6,030 people out of work, 12,528 on furlough and 4,200 claiming the Self-Employed Income Support Scheme.
In April last year, Cllr Peter Lamb—Labour Leader of Crawley Borough Council—and Henry Smith—Conservative MP for Crawley—wrote to the Government outlining the unique threat for Crawley posed by the Government’s restrictions and outlining ten ways the Government could help the town to recover.
So far, Crawley has received no more support from the Government than those town’s least affected by the restrictions. Not even the £25m Town Deal funding Crawley residents were promised 20 months ago, before the General Election, has been granted. At this time, £25m is too little, too late to make a significant difference to the town’s jobs problem.
Crawley Borough Council’s Economic Recovery Taskforce has been working with public and private sector partners to develop a comprehensive plan for getting Crawley back to work and regenerating the town’s main economic areas, but various parts of the plan need Government support to take place, these include: freeport status for Manor Royal, an Institute of Technology, Crawley Innovation Centre, and the council’s ‘Green New Deal for Crawley’.
With the furlough cut-off looming, on Wednesday the Chancellor must deliver a ‘Jobs-Focused Budget’ giving local employers the confidence they need to retain their workforce and providing the council with the support it needs to get Crawley back to work.
Cllr Lamb said: ‘On the ground, everyone is working together to try to protect jobs and attract new employers to Crawley, but there are a number of things we simply cannot do without Government support.
‘Before the pandemic Crawley’s economy was booming, growing by a quarter during just my time as Leader, the only reason families are struggling right now is due to restrictions imposed by the Government. The Budget on Wednesday is the Government’s chance to do the fair thing and show they are willing to work with us to put things right.’
I have written to the Chancellor of the Exchequer calling for a ‘Jobs-Focused Budget’ on Wednesday Cllr Peter Lamb