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Henry Smith MP: Our thanks on Armed Forces Day

In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about how veterans should not feel isolated when they leave the Armed Forces.

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Saturday marked Armed Forces Day. While this official day to highlight support for our Armed Forces is a relatively recent concept, the strength of feeling towards those who ensure our freedoms is nothing new.

Our nation’s gratitude and thanks should not end when an individual leaves the Armed Forces. Earlier this year, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that service leavers will receive a new ID card to mark their time serving our country.

Not only will this allow them to maintain a tangible link to their career, but it will assist in accessing support from the NHS, their local authority and charities.

The Armed Forces Covenant is our country’s commitment to those who protect our nation with honour and courage. Thousands of businesses and organisations have signed up, with the Government going further to ensure that our universities do the same, so that veterans and their families are not met with barriers when accessing education.

Many people will have seen the new housing development on the former Kilnmead car park in Northgate, next to the Crawley Army Reserve Centre.

It is with pride that the street housing these new properties will be named John Brackpool Close. Private Brackpool hailed from Crawley and died in action serving our country in Afghanistan in 2009, at the age of just 27. The flats as part of this new development will be named John Brackpool Court.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: The new Railcard for 16-17 year olds

In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about the new Railcard that has been introduced for 16-17 year-olds.

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In tackling the cost of living I welcome the Government introducing a new 16-17 year olds’ Railcard. This will guarantee 50 per cent off all rail travel until the cardholder’s 18th birthday, and is expected to benefit more than one million people nationwide.

Many young people rely on the trains from Crawley, Ifield and Three Bridges stations to get to school, college and work. It is vital that rail fares are affordable for young people, and I have written to Crawley secondary school and college heads to ask them to urge their students to sign up.

This Railcard will be released in time for the new school year in September, following the launch of the 26-30 Railcard in January, which saw some 11,000 cards sold on the very first day alone.

Overall, regulated rail fares have been frozen in line with inflation, meaning annual season ticket holders will have approximately £425 more in their pockets in the five years to 2020.

A few days ago I welcomed the Transport Secretary to Gatwick Airport for an announcement about the future of its railway station. Improved accessibility and swifter journeys are at the heart of a £150 million plan to upgrade the station, which will benefit tens of millions of passengers.

It is with increased access in mind that I was pleased to encourage eligible Crawley residents to sign up for the Disabled Persons Railcard. Last year more than 48,000 journeys starting in Crawley were made using the Railcard, up from just over 33,700 four years ago.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

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