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Opinion

Henry Smith: Delivering on Crawley’s priorities

In his final article before polling day, Henry Smith speaks directly to the voters of Crawley.

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Tomorrow, the people of Crawley will decide the future of our town and the whole country.

The choice could not be clearer. A Jeremy Corbyn government, propped up by the Scottish Nationalists, or a majority Conservative Government which will secure further support for our NHS and our schools, recruit 20,000 more police officers, and get Brexit done.

On polling day I will be campaigning across town. Throughout this election I have been speaking to local residents seeking support for my plan for Crawley:

  • Investing further in Crawley’s NHS is a priority: Bring further services back to Crawley Hospital and increase provision of GP practices – an issue I raised with the new government on Boris Johnson’s first full day as Prime Minister.
  • Expanding opportunity: Securing record high funding for Crawley schools of £82.8 million and ensuring continued local economic growth with high quality jobs are vital for our town’s future.
  • Further infrastructure investment: From transport to telecommunications, I have successfully lobbied for millions of pounds in extra funding to upgrade local roads and railways. Expanding superfast broadband and 5G are vital too, both for individuals and businesses to connect.
  • A clean, green and safe town: Demanding Crawley Borough Council address their poor record on recycling and litter. Although Crawley police officer numbers have remained stable in recent years, now further increasing officer numbers is a pledge I fully back to tackle anti-social behaviour and crime. Recently I was delighted to speak with some of the 129 new Sussex Police recruits who will further boost those patrolling our town and keeping us safe. In total Sussex Police will have 379 extra officers joining the force.
  • Security in work and retirement: Supporting those who work hard and want to get on by reducing taxes as well as looking after local people in retirement.
  • Delivering Crawley’s vote to leave the EU: Ensuring we take back control of our laws, borders and trade, whilst building on new opportunities across the world. This is not just about the UK’s independent sovereign future but respect for our democracy.

Your polling station will be open from 7am until 10pm on Thursday 12th December. We have 15 hours to elect a majority Conservative Government, which will deliver record investment in the NHS, keep our economy strong and debt low, and take back control of immigration with an Australian-style points system.

People are fed up of politicians saying one thing and doing another. Let me take one issue of importance for every Crawley parent; Boris Johnson promised to uplift school funding. This work started when he became Prime Minister, and the Conservative Manifesto reiterates the extra £14 billion in funding for schools – £150 million a week, including at least £5,000 a year per secondary school pupil and at least £4,000 for each primary school pupil.

This also includes £780 million in new funding to support children with Special Educational Needs – a point I have continued to pursue with the Government.

For the last nine and a half years I have sought to be a strong voice for our town and to stand up for Crawley in the House of Commons. I ask for the honour of continuing to serve.

Henry SmithConservative
Parliamentary Candidate for Crawley

Opinion

Cineworld in Crawley could reopen in July, but has lockdown changed the way we now watch films?

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There has always been something exciting about going to watch a film in a cinema.

Be it the excited atmosphere, the thrill of a large number of people all reacting in unison to the plot, or the immersive sound and visual experience.

So when Cineworld along with the other cinema chains had to close their doors due to the lockdown it was another element lost for months from our social calendar.

But, during this lockdown something else happened. Streaming services jumped on the chance to bring the cinema experience with the launch of new films to peoples homes first rather than sit it out waiting for picture houses to reopen.

And it wasn’t a bad experience either.

Instead of being crushed up in a tiny seat with someone hogging your arm rest while you tried to silently tuck into your expensive bag of popcorn whilst getting agitated by the incessant coughing from the row behind, we were able to stretch out on our sofas. We could eat what we wanted without extra fees and, possibly the greatest advantage, pause the film whenever we wanted. It was heaven.

Of course the cinema experience is exactly that, an experience, and there is a market for it. But has the degree of that market changed as a result of the lockdown?

Cineworld has said they are making preparations in their venues so that customers will be able to watch a film in a “safe and enjoyable way”. How they are going to achieve this and how empty will each screen be is yet to be announced.

They have also told their investors that they expect all of their venues to open sometime in July.

This means that Crawley’s Cineworld could see its doors open within the next two months and as further restrictions begin to lift the food venues around it will also see a return of customers.

But will it ever be the same? Will we ever dare to endure the annoying coughing near us without fear of a second wave shutting it all down again?

Whatever the outcome what the lockdown has shown is how we have been able to adapt quickly and so has business. In this case the entertainment world has found a new route and one they will not give up just because of a relaxation in rules.

This lockdown has done one thing, it has expediated what was possibly always going to come, the dawn of the real home cinema for all.

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