Better and brighter future for townsfolk

Crawley MP Henry Smith's latest column
Crawley MP Henry Smith's latest column

Last week I met at Gatwick Airport with the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and local business leaders to announce a growth deal for our Crawley centred Coast to Capital enterprise region worth £202 million over six years; including an initial investment of £38 million of new funding next year which will deliver over 14,000 jobs, around 4,600 new homes and almost 600,000 square feet of additional employment space.

This deal is a great example of collaboration between the public sector, businesses, educational institutions and the wider community. It is important that we share a view of how to prioritise investment in transport and infrastructure and how we can most effectively support West Sussex businesses to grow and their workforces to succeed. This is only the first year of the programme for the Coast to Capital area but I am pleased that the Government has backed our area’s plans.

As a whole, during the period starting in 2015, Crawley will receive significant benefits, including:

£18 million Crawley Area Transport Package - a range of projects will tackle congestion and improve sustainable transport across Crawley. This will include: junction improvements; improvements to public transport such as bus and taxi priority schemes; modal interchange; traffic management systems to ease traffic flow; and improvements to walking and cycling paths.

Support local businesses to trade internationally with a new ASEAN Gateway at Gatwick to boost trade with Southeast Asian nations markets, in close association with UK Trade & Investment.

Business Finance and Business Trade – equity, debt and grant funding for Crawley businesses that can help further reduce employment from 2.3 per cent.

Digital Growth – providing key business locations with the digital connections needed to compete internationally and pioneering new mobile 5G technology research with neighbouring regions.

There is no doubt that this exciting investment deal will make a huge difference in Crawley and the wider region.

This will help local businesses create the jobs we need so more hardworking families can have the security of a regular pay packet and will help ensure our young people have the skills they need to compete in the global race. This is a key part of the long-term economic plan and will help secure a better and brighter future for Crawley folk.