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Crawley’s Council leader calls on Chancellor for a ‘Jobs-Focused Budget’ tomorrow

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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.

According to the Council Leader, so far, Crawley has received no more support from the Government than those town’s least affected by the restrictions claiming that not even the £25m Town Deal funding Crawley residents were promised 20 months ago, before the General Election, has been granted.

In a press statement from Crawley Labour they sat that at this time, £25m is ‘too little, too late’ to make a significant difference to the town’s jobs problem.

They add that 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’.

Now with the furlough cut-off looming, the leader says that 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.

You can read the full letter here.

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‘Please come forward with information no matter how small’ Police appeal as E-Fit of attempted rape suspect released

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Police have released an E-fit image of a man sought in connection with the attempted rape of a 17-year-old girl in Crawley.

Between 7pm and 7.15pm on Tuesday (March 9), the teenager was walking her dog along the pathway from Overdene Drive towards the tunnel that runs underneath the A23 and follows on to Quantock Close.

She turned around before the end of the tunnel and walked back along the path to Overdene Drive. As she did so, she crossed paths with a man who grabbed her and attempted to rape her.

The victim was able to break free and shout for help, causing the man to flee the scene in the direction of the tunnel. The victim is being supported by specialist officers. 

The man was described as white, in his late teens to late 30s, 5’ 9” to 5’ 10”, with dark eyes, short dark coloured hair and short dark stubble. He spoke with an eastern European accent and was wearing dark clothing.

Investigating Officer Detective Inspector Allana Hughes said:

“We are appealing for anyone who recognises this man, or anyone who witnessed the sexual assault or any suspicious behaviour at this location around the time of the incident, to make contact with us.

“We would particularly like to hear from people who were in Quantock Close, The Dingle or surrounding roads around this time or anyone who may have dashcam, ring doorbell or CCTV footage which might have captured the suspect fleeing the scene.

“We have increased our patrols in the area and have been conducting house-to-house enquiries alongside investigating any potential lines of enquiry.

“Please come forward to us with any information which you think could help our investigation, no matter how small.”

Information can be passed to Sussex Police online or by calling 101 quoting Operation Stockbridge.

Alternatively, people can get in touch anonymously via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.

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