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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: Backing our NHS in Parliament

In his article Crawley MP Henry Smith talks about the Queen’s Speech debate in Parliament

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Regardless of background, we will all need the NHS at some point in our lives. It is right that last week’s (Wednesday, 23rd October) Queen’s Speech debate in Parliament was dedicated to this public service.

I welcome the Government’s additional £33.9 billion of funding support for our health service. In recent years we have seen health provision return to Crawley, but there remains more to do.

On issues such as GP access, I call on the Government to address waiting times, as the Prime Minister pledged on the steps of Downing Street almost 100 days ago.

It is right that mental health is being treated on a par with physical health, and I am pleased that schools in Crawley will be part of a pilot initiative where new specialist Mental Health Support Teams will work alongside school counsellors and provide one-to-one support to pupils.

As Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Blood Cancer, it is right that the Government are committed to making sure that 75 per cent of cancers are diagnosed at stages 1 and 2 by 2028.

Blood cancer is, of course, different to solid tumour cancers, and is much more difficult to detect. I will continue my call for the Department of Health & Social Care and the NHS to consider blood cancer patients when taking action to tackle the scourge of cancer.

Last week I welcomed Bloodwise to Parliament for the launch of the charity’s ‘Delays Expected’ report. Delays to diagnosis can have a huge impact on mental health, treatment options and chances of survival; it is vital that urgent action is taken to help save lives.

The research highlights NHS data that shows three in 10 people with blood cancer are only diagnosed when their symptoms need emergency treatment. By backing our GPs we can improve patient outcomes.

Henry Smith MP

Crawley Constituency

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