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Peter Lamb: Celebrating the NHS

The leader of Crawley Borough Council says “without a major change at the top we won’t be celebrating the NHS’s 80th Birthday a decade from now.”

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Last weekend, I was out with other Labour councillors and activists in Queens Square and at Broadfield Barton celebrating our NHS’s 70th Birthday.

As part of our celebration we were handing out birthday cake and asking members of the public to sign giant birthday cards for past and present NHS workers, letting them know despite the pressures they’re facing Crawley residents are behind them.

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Our NHS is part of what makes this country great, the principle your right to life shouldn’t be based on what you earn or who your parents were. Residents were extremely keen to sign the cards and leave their personal messages of support, sadly many also wanted to tell us how concerned they were for the services’ future. It’s a concern I share.

Crawley’s NHS provision has never faced as great a threat as it does today. Our town’s Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for financing all our local health needs, has been in Special Measures for the last year as they can’t afford to pay for all the healthcare we need with the budget the Government has allocated, raising concerns over the future rationing of care. Meanwhile, GP provision in the town is now at the point of breaking.

Our MP promised us £350m a week in new NHS funding when he campaigned heavily for Brexit, money which has now been proven to have never existed. Even the latest announcement on NHS funding falls far short on what healthcare experts say is needed. It’s not over-the-top to say that NHS funding is a matter of life and death and the Government have proven themselves either unwilling or unable to deliver. All the figures now show, without a major change at the top we won’t be celebrating the NHS’s 80th Birthday a decade from now.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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Opinion

Peter Lamb: The importance of the Greater Brighton Economic Board

In his article this week, leader of Crawley Borough Council, Peter Lamb talks about the Greater Brighton Economic Board and what it means for Crawley.

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Earlier this week I had the pleasure of showing the Greater Brighton Economic Board around our town.

The board is made up of a combination of local authorities, education providers, economic groups and businesses covering our region and has responsibility for growing the economy in our part of the South East, with its own council-like structure and budget.

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From the feedback I’ve received, the tour of both our town centre and Manor Royal left participants amazed by the level of investment and growth taking place in Crawley.

While the City Deal to set the board up was back in 2014, part of the first wave of recent English devolution, Crawley Borough Council only took the decision to join last Autumn.

That decision was taken for a number of reasons, partly as an opportunity to access another investment stream for the town and potentially another mechanism for physically bringing schemes forward, but far more important to my mind was the role it could play in lobbying for our area.

Infrastructure in the South East is creaking, with railway capacity alone all but exhausted. While London’s transport has always been well-financed and the North and Midlands are now seeing greater investment, such as with HS2, no serious investment is planned for the South East and unlike those areas we have no Mayor to lobby for our area.

More Peter Lamb: Celebrating the NHS

To counter this we need far greater co-operation between councils in our patch to ensure that we can provide a unified voice to Government on what we require to meet the needs of our communities and deliver the future we want for our districts, boroughs and cities.

For two years we worked to try and deliver this through a devolution deal for Sussex and Surrey, where that plan failed we hope Greater Brighton may yet succeed.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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