Rachel Reeves MP - Cllr Peter Smith
Rachel Reeves MP - Cllr Peter Smith

Business leaders from several companies in Manor Royal Business District joined Rachel Reeves MP (Labour MP and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster) yesterday to discuss the impact of Covid-19 on their businesses. 

Several sectors have missed out on support from Government during the pandemic due to gaps in the coverage of supported businesses and discussions focussed on what needs to be done to remedy this and improve prospects for Manor Royal businesses in the future. 

Key topics discussed included:

  • the definition of hospitality businesses was not wide enough and focussed only on primary businesses like pubs and restaurants. There are many secondary and support hospitality businesses that missed out on grants and support as a result.
  • Difficulties securing financing on a satisfactory basis
  • Recognition that Crawley Borough Council had done a good job on both business rates and grant support where available
  • Recognition that the majority of businesses and people employed in Manor Royal are SME’s and that many of these were ineligible for Government help as a consequence of the ‘gaps’ in the coverage of the support scheme

In wide ranging discussions the business leaders took this opportunity to share their hopes and ambitions for the future with a senior opposition representative as they look forward to the post-Covid economy and plan for their future. Several opportunities were identified that would help with Green New Deal ambitions and help with the plans to combat the effects of Climate Change.

Rachel Reeves MP (Labour MP and Shadow Minister for the Cabinet Office and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster) said: ‘It was terrific to visit Manor Royal Business District in Crawley and I found it really useful to hear first-hand about the difficulties that some businesses have experienced due to gaps in the government’s business support programme.

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.”

Cllr Peter Smith, Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development said: ‘It was really interesting to hold an open-air meeting right in the heart of Manor Royal Business District and to hear the thoughts and ideas from leaders in sectors that have often missed out on the Government Covid-19 support programme. What particularly impressed me was their dedication and passion for their businesses and the desire to build back better as soon as they can.

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.’

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