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Peter Lamb: Celebrating the NHS

The leader of Crawley Borough Council says “without a major change at the top we won’t be celebrating the NHS’s 80th Birthday a decade from now.”

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Last weekend, I was out with other Labour councillors and activists in Queens Square and at Broadfield Barton celebrating our NHS’s 70th Birthday.

As part of our celebration we were handing out birthday cake and asking members of the public to sign giant birthday cards for past and present NHS workers, letting them know despite the pressures they’re facing Crawley residents are behind them.

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Our NHS is part of what makes this country great, the principle your right to life shouldn’t be based on what you earn or who your parents were. Residents were extremely keen to sign the cards and leave their personal messages of support, sadly many also wanted to tell us how concerned they were for the services’ future. It’s a concern I share.

Crawley’s NHS provision has never faced as great a threat as it does today. Our town’s Clinical Commissioning Group, which is responsible for financing all our local health needs, has been in Special Measures for the last year as they can’t afford to pay for all the healthcare we need with the budget the Government has allocated, raising concerns over the future rationing of care. Meanwhile, GP provision in the town is now at the point of breaking.

Our MP promised us £350m a week in new NHS funding when he campaigned heavily for Brexit, money which has now been proven to have never existed. Even the latest announcement on NHS funding falls far short on what healthcare experts say is needed. It’s not over-the-top to say that NHS funding is a matter of life and death and the Government have proven themselves either unwilling or unable to deliver. All the figures now show, without a major change at the top we won’t be celebrating the NHS’s 80th Birthday a decade from now.

Cllr Peter Lamb
Leader, Crawley Borough Council

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Henry Smith

Henry Smith MP: Stronger sentences for cruelty to animals

In his article this week Henry Smith MP talks about stronger sentences for cruelty to animals.

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Henry Smith MP

When I’m out and about listening to people in Crawley, one issue which tends to unite those usually on differing sides of the political spectrum is the necessity to increase the punishment for those who hurt animals needlessly.

Recently in Westminster I was pleased to meet with Battersea – the dog and cat rescue centre – to reiterate my support for Government proposals to extend the current maximum penalty for animal cruelty offences, specified under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, tenfold from six months imprisonment to five years.

This change would provide the justice system with the flexibility to treat the most shocking acts of animal cruelty much more seriously than it can at present. 

At Battersea’s event alongside a host of other MPs, we signed the organisation’s pledge board to highlight the strength of parliamentary support on this issue.

The Government already has a strong record on animal welfare and protection of animals. From the introduction of mandatory CCTV in slaughterhouses – a campaign I led in Parliament – to banning the use of wild animals in travelling circuses, it is right that action has been taken.

Other measures I have supported have been the introduction of the world’s toughest bans on ivory sales to help stop the poaching of elephants, and the banning of commercial third party sales of puppies and kittens in England to end the terrible welfare conditions found in puppy farming.

I was pleased to serve as Co-Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Animal Welfare in both the 2015 and 2017 parliaments. As Groups such as this one are in the process of being reconstituted following the General Election in December, I look forward to playing my part in this APPG’s work in the months and years ahead.

Henry Smith MP
Crawley Constituency

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