COLUMN by Crawley MP Henry Smith: Foundations for a return to prosperity

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all local residents a successful and Happy New Year and to encourage you, should you have any concerns or general feedback, to get in touch with me directly at

Essentially my role as Crawley’s Member of Parliament is to pass legislation, hold the Government to account and assist with issues of concern on your behalf. I am always keen to help constituents wherever possible.

This Government has taken the bold decisive steps to ensure that Great Britain succeeds in the increasingly competitive global race which we as a nation face today.  Since coming to power, the Government has seen one million new private sector jobs created across the United Kingdom and has seen a £50 billion increase in exports.  The expansion of trade is an essential national priority – UK exports have been boosted over the past two years to Brazil by 25 percent; China by 40 percent; Russia by 80 percent; and India by 34 percent.  This summer, for the first time in decades, Great Britain exported more outside Europe than from inside. 

Now we are seeing real results: the deficit has been slashed by a quarter in two years; there are almost 500,000 more people are in work than this time last year, with Crawley unemployment down to 3.6%; from this time last year there are more than 1,000 new Academies open, including many in Crawley with a free school in Broadfield; and billions of pounds worth of wasteful Whitehall spending have been cut.

By getting the nation’s economic course right, by laying the foundations for a return to prosperity and by tackling our inefficient, over-regulated and bloated bureaucracy, this Government has been able to put in place measures that help support those who work hard and want to get on in life despite its tough economic inheritance. 

This is evident from: the Government’s benefits cap which sends a powerful message that in this country it pays to work, not to stay at home; the increase in the personal allowance which will give 24 million hard-working Britons an income tax cut and will halve the income tax paid by those working on the minimum wage; the three year freeze on Council Tax; and the support for motorists by scrapping Labour’s 45 pence fuel duty hike ensuring average savings to families worth £159.

The Government’s cost-effective approach has meant that it can re-allocate our nation’s pressed finances towards those areas that most need the funding.  Unlike the Opposition, this Government has come true on its pledge to safeguard the NHS budget whilst increasing funding year on year to ensure that thousands more patients can access life-saving cancer treatment. 

In addition, Ministers have brought in the biggest-ever cash increase in the state pension and protected pensioner benefits despite opposition from Labour.