Crawley Labour has held a successful Business Round table attended by local Business Leaders to discuss the Crawley economy and the challenges and opportunities facing Crawley businesses with Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds MP. All sectors of the Crawley economy were represented and a useful and interesting discussion took place that was welcomed by all that attended.
The virtual meeting was attended by representatives from all sectors of the Crawley economy including manufacturing, professional services, retail, property development and hospitality and from all locations including Manor Royal, the Town Centre and the Historic High Street.
A wide-ranging discussion took place with topics discussed including:
- the apparent complacency of the Government in assuming that because Crawley is in the South East it did not need support in the same way as other places.
- The need to reform Business rates affecting small, medium and large businesses
- Crawley’s need for support is immediate and cannot be delayed
- The diversity of Crawley’s economy with a vibrant Town Centre
- Moving to a better ‘people friendly’ environment at work and across the Town
- Impact of Brexit related import/export processes
- The effect of Gatwick on the overall economy
- Benefits of Public/Private co-operation as has been demonstrated by the Crawley Growth Programme
- Skills deficits in the workforce and shortage of availability of some skills
- Uncertainty over the Government’s Aviation strategy affecting development
- Covid/Brexit had provided a ‘perfect storm’ that impacted some businesses heavily
- Changes to work/life balance more on the agenda for employees and businesses
- Increase in Logistics based business in Manor Royal Business District
- Self-employed people had been forgotten in the grant’s regime
- Need to balance the tax levels paid by delivery companies
Anneliese Dodds asked to stay in touch with Crawley business as this helped her to understand the real needs of Business and to put pressure on the Government to address the most pressing of Crawley’s needs. She was impressed by the wide-ranging representation from across Crawley and that there were common themes emerging across all sizes of business and all sectors including the need to improve the supporting infrastructure and the need to rebalance the operational framework for bricks and mortar operations when compared to ‘on-line’ retailers/companies.
Anneliese Dodds MP, Shadow Chancellor said: ‘It was really useful to virtually visit with a wide range of Crawley Business leaders and to hear first hand about the challenges that they are facing. This will help us to put more pressure on the Government to take the action needed to help economies like Crawley’s to recover as quickly as possible.
“The Chancellor should be backing Crawley businesses by only asking them to pay off their Covid loans when they start making a profit. His refusal is risking their future and our recovery from the worst economic crisis of any major economy.”
Cllr Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development said: ‘This is the first Business round-table that we have organised in recent years and the attendance recognises the tremendous community we have across all sectors of Crawley’s business community and endorses the Council’s new “‘One Crawley’ – economic recovery plan” adopted by Cabinet. Crawley’s businesses face many challenges and many Crawley residents face the prospect of unemployment as we emerge from the pandemic and Crawley Labour are determined to do everything possible to support business and jobs in Crawley.’