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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

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: It was a happy 72nd Birthday for the NHS as hundreds more doctors & nurses come to the south east

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The weekend saw the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the National Health Service. Unquestionably an important date in the story of our country; the people who work in our health and care system are some of the very best our nation has to offer.

It is with this in mind that I welcome the news that there are over 820 more doctors and over 2,200 more nurses in the south east of England compared to last year, with some 6,000 more doctors and 12,000 more nurses nationally.

Whether you are one of these new members of staff, you have worked in the sector for some time previously, or if you are one of the healthcare professionals who returned as part of the response to COVID-19; we appreciate your dedication and we thank you.

It is right that NHS staff with COVID-19 symptoms are tested as a priority, with regular testing of asymptomatic staff in situations where there is an incident or outbreak, in addition to regular surveillance testing across staff. This approach has been decided by clinical experts, including the Chief Medical Officer; with the Government continuing to review clinical evidence to ensure that regular testing of staff without symptoms is undertaken where appropriate.

My thanks to Crawley and Sussex NHS staff for the briefings I have received on their work during the pandemic. Since March, Crawley Hospital has been upgraded with 28 extra beds that are now operational for patient care, with the number of 999/111 call staff locally being significantly increased.

Over £14 billion has been provided for the NHS and public services during the pandemic to increase critical care capacity, provide staff with the equipment they need, and to ensure those on the frontline are supported.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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