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‘The money is already spent’ – Crawley Council leader says extra money from government can’t help fund school meals

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The debate rages on but in response to the news that an extra £500,000 pounds from the government to help Crawley Council’s ‘vital’ services Crawley Council Leader Peter Lamb has hit back saying the money they received has already been spent.

In a statement to the news Cllr Lamb said:

“At no point have councils received any money from government for the purpose of providing free school meals, the only mention of free school meals in any guidance has been that councils should not seek to duplicate the scheme which had been running over the Summer.

Despite having no involvement in the provision of free school meals, Crawley BC is stepping up to ensure local children are fed this Christmas. We’re doing so despite having a budget deficit of £1m this year, even when this new funding is taken into account, and despite having no access to any of the records on which families are eligible–due to having no involvement in the usual provision of these meals.

We are working to solve these challenges and ensure that now–as ever–when our national representatives let us down, Crawley Borough Council won’t.”

Now the Council Leader along with the local Labour Party has called for a ‘release of the Town Deal Funding’.

Last year it was announced that Crawley would received up to £25m as one of 100 Town Deals across the UK. But the towns leader says that 13 months on Crawley has not seen a penny of the money.

When the ‘Town Deal’s’ was announced last year it was announced that its purpose was to support towns and build prosperous futures.

But the Labour Party say that since then and following all the pandemic restrictions that Crawley’s economy is being hit harder than any other in the UK. They add that despite requests to ministers for support there has been a complete failure to deliver a commitment to the area greater than the Town Deal.

Cllr Lamb said:

“This money was promised to Crawley before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19. Since that time, Crawley’s economy has been hit harder than any other by the government’s regulations, with thousands of jobs lost, and despite the promises we have yet to see any of the funding.

“There is simply no excuse for Crawley not forming part of the first tranche of Town Deals or for the government misleading councils as to the amount they could bid for.

“Every day they delay further they costs Crawley more local businesses and more local jobs.”

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Crawley’s buses to be fitted with anti-virus filters

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Anti-virus air filters are being fitted to every bus on the Brighton & Hove and Metrobus fleet, as an added measure to further reduce the risk of Covid transmission.  

The new filters have an anti-virus coating and remove 99.99%* of viruses and bacteria, as air flows into both decks and the driver’s cab. Air is already regularly refreshed on buses with doors opening at stops and windows open and this is an extra safety precaution.  

Engineers have fitted the new air filters on every bus and converted the whole fleet of 400 buses within just one month. These filters will continue to be used as standard within the regular replacement programme.   

Brighton & Hove and Metrobus Managing Director Martin Harris said: “The new filters are a welcome addition to the safety measures we already have lined up on buses to defeat the virus, alongside high cleaning standards, face coverings, social distancing, keeping windows open and paying by contactless.  

“Our engineers have been working round the clock to fit these filters so that our passengers can feel even more confident that they are travelling in a clean and safe bus. A good flow of fresh air is increasingly being recognised as one of the most important protections against Covid alongside ‘Hands, Face and Space’ and these filters are an important step.”   The PEPA-F HVAC filters were developed by Filtration Control and train builder Bombardier and capture particles in the air that might contain pathogens and virus such as Covid-19. 

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