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Henry Smith

‘It is not whether help should be provided – rather how that assistance is best delivered’ writes Crawley MP



In his article this week Crawley MP Henry Smith addresses the issue that has become the biggest debate of the last week, free meals for children in need.

As Crawley’s MP I continue to call for more help for our local area, and just last week I was able to confirm an additional £510,000 in Government funding for Crawley Borough Council. Our local authority has now received £2.38 million in direct extra support from Government since the start of COVID-19 and that money is provided to help support those most in need across our town.

It is not a question of whether help should be provided – rather how that assistance is best delivered.

This is in addition to the more than £75 million provided to support individuals and businesses in Crawley so far since March. For those amongst us who are most in need, Universal Credit benefits have been increased by an extra £1,000 per year – an additional £20 more per week. That is how I want our Government to directly support mums and dads in Crawley, extra money paid into their bank accounts to help them buy the food they need to feed their families. Money, not vouchers.

To make sure that no one goes without, £63 million has been distributed to local authorities in England to help those who are struggling to afford essentials due to COVID-19 (the school voucher scheme would only offer £20 million in help nationally). West Sussex County Council has received over £737,000 from the Local Authority Emergency Assistance Grant for Food and Essential Supplies. The County Community Hub is continuing to support the most vulnerable; if you or someone you know requires their assistance please visit:

We are all feeling the strain of the restrictions on our lives due to Covid and so many people are worried about recovering from its damaging effects on our future economic wellbeing – one of the reasons I have set up and Chair the All-Party Parliamentary Future of Aviation Group, to lobby for this critical, job-providing sector in Crawley. I am working day and night to try to secure Crawley’s future prosperity so there will actually be jobs here for our children in the years to come, and the suggestion that I personally do not care about the children of our town is just so wrong.

I chose to live in Crawley decades ago because of the strong community we are, and I love the generosity of spirit that exists here. Yes, I have previously been unemployed myself and I know the sense of worry that not having a job brings for each family in that situation. I am doing all I can to fight for Crawley right now.

Clearly, many are very unhappy with the way the Government has handled the proposal of providing free school meals during school holidays, but that should not detract from the significant support actually being delivered for Crawley’s most in need already.

I will continue to lobby for more Government-provided financial support. Let us be clear, this needs to be a policy of sustainable assistance, not a one-off gesture.  As for vouchers, the solution lies within the benefits payment system which can flex instantly. If the solution is that additional payments need to be made during school holidays then that is what needs to be put before Parliament for a vote and I will support it.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Poppy Appeal 2020



In his article this week, Crawley MP Henry Smith looks to raise awareness of the importance of continuing support for the Royal British Legion:

Throughout the course of this year we have seen so many aspects of day-to-day life affected by COVID-19, with few being more poignant than the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.

With the pandemic impacting some of the more traditional and familiar ways we remember, I am keen to raise awareness of how we can continue to support the Royal British Legion in a safe and socially distant manner.

  • Poppies in the Post: The Royal British Legion’s website allows you to request 20 poppies free of charge, which can be distributed to friends and neighbours. Many of the volunteers who usually distribute more than 40 million poppies annually are unable to do so this year, so we are being asked to step in to support the Armed Forces community and ensure their contribution to our country is not forgotten. Please remember to make a donation to the Royal British Legion after requesting your poppies.
  • Printable Poppy: Unfortunately, large scale gatherings at the Cenotaph in London, at memorials across Crawley and around the country to pay our respects will be restricted to a smaller number of representatives. The Royal British Legion have therefore launched the Printable Poppy – an A4 poster which can be displayed at home, perhaps in the front window – for us to show our support.
  • My Poppy Run: A further consequence of COVID-19 are the changes to the My Poppy Run events which are usually held in October and November. Due to social distancing, these are taking place virtually, with participants being able to run, jog or walk while raising money.
  • Visit the local supermarket: The Royal British Legion have confirmed that supermarkets including Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Morrisons, Aldi and Asda, in addition to online retailers such as Amazon and eBay, as well as Lloyds Bank and Santander are supporting the 2020 Poppy Appeal. Each location has a number of cashless donation options, and Morrisons and Sainsbury’s offer customers an option to add a donation to their shopping bill.
  • Poppy Shop: With products ranging from poppy pins and jewellery, to clothing, stationery and homeware, 100 per cent of profits from the Poppy Shop go towards the Royal British Legion’s work to support the Armed Forces community.
  • Donate online or by text: The Legion’s website allows supporters to make a donation online, or by sending a text message to donate £2, £5 or £10.

While the ways our country reflects and remembers will undoubtedly feel different, the message remains the same. The sense of duty of all in the Armed Forces community will never be forgotten.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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