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Henry Smith MP, Budget 2020: Delivering on our promises

In his article this week, Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about the Budget that was announced this week.

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This week, new Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered the first Budget of this new parliament and I support a fuel duty freeze along with increased funds to fill highway potholes.

An NHS cash boost of £33.9 billion by 2024 is already being enshrined into law. The Budget goes further by investing £5.4 billon in this parliament to support the recruitment, retraining and retaining of 50,000 more nurses, including a new nursing maintenance grant for all nursing students.

Funding will also be increased for counter-terrorism and intelligence measures, including £83 million for specialist policing and £31 million for our UK intelligence community. An additional £67 million will be provided so British intelligence agencies can build on their world-leading technological capabilities and protect the country’s security.

A £10 million commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust will support veterans with mental health needs.

Now we have left the European Union, this country can reduce the cost of essential sanitary products for women across Britain, abolishing the tampon tax.

Reassessments for Personal Independence Payment (PIP) will be reduced to avoid unnecessary anxiety. PIP claimants whose conditions are unlikely to change will have an award period of at least 18 months, reducing assessments for over 100,000 people with disabilities per year.

These are just a few of the actions being taken to support people in Crawley and across the nation. There is more to do – this is the case I will continue to put to ministers.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Victory in Europe Day 75 years on

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At 11am on Friday, 8th May, our nation will fall silent for two minutes, to mark the 75th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day and in honour of all those who gave their lives for our freedom.

As the Royal British Legion have said, there is no right or wrong way to take part in the silence. Some people may choose to stand at the window or step outside the front door, and I encourage all in Crawley to spend this time to think of the events which took place three quarters of a century ago.

Alongside a host of television and radio broadcasts, the Royal British Legion have also developed a VE Day learning pack which is designed for seven to 14 year olds, with first-hand accounts from the Second World War generation, interviews with veterans and a variety of activities to help families explore and commemorate VE Day together.

I am grateful to Crawley Borough Council and West Sussex County Council for their work to ensure this important anniversary can be marked remotely given the current COVID-19 pandemic social distancing restrictions. This will include posting items on social media from the Crawley Library archives, as well as a range of resources available online from the West Sussex Record Office.

My thanks as well to St John’s Church, whose celebration service will also take place remotely on Friday.

Today marks the tenth anniversary of the general election where I was first elected to Parliament. It is not lost on me that were it not for the bravery of those who defeated the threat to our freedom in the Second World War, we would not have a functioning democracy and a free country today.

When the clock strikes 11am on Friday my thoughts will be of the individuals from the UK and right across the free world who stood up for our way of life, including the service of those from what would soon become the New Town of Crawley.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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