MP Henry Smith stands up for Crawley and Gatwick aviation workers in House of Commons debate
Henry Smith MP has reiterated his backing for local aviation, travel and tourism sector workers and has highlighted with the Government the importance of a safe reopening of international travel.
The debate in the House of Commons (on Thursday, 10th June) on the Aviation, Travel and Tourism Industries saw the Crawley MP, who is also Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for the Future of Aviation, urge the Government to make the most of its successful Covid-19 vaccine programme to boost economic recovery.
Henry said: “With Gatwick Airport in our borough it’s clear for all to see just how damaging the Covid-19 pandemic has been for the local economy.
“More than 70 million Covid-19 vaccine doses have been administered and the Government is to be credited with securing and delivering this source of hope.
“What we can’t afford is for this progress to be squandered. Using this country’s vaccine dividend to reopen will benefit families and individuals right across the country, especially in an aviation community like Crawley.
“We need to get this right. It’s about global Britain, international trade, and people’s jobs.”
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Speaking in the debate; on the importance of the aviation industry to the economy, Henry said: “It is timely for us to remember that we are not just talking about two weeks on the beach in the sun; this is about people’s livelihoods, their wellbeing and their jobs. It is also important for our UK economy. Outbound international travel accounts, in normal times, for a contribution of approximately £37 billion to the UK economy, and inbound international travel accounts for about £28 billion, at 2019 levels.”
On standing up for Crawley and Gatwick aviation sector workers, Henry said: "“More than 1.5 million people were employed in the aviation and travel sectors. Sadly, many of those have lost their jobs and about half are on furlough. The furlough is coming to an end in September and will need to be extended if the aviation and travel sectors are not able to regenerate themselves by being able to operate at least to some meaningful degree in the coming summer months.”
On the importance of transatlantic travel, Henry said: “I am encouraged to hear news from Cornwall [ahead of the 2021 G7 summit] today that there will be a UK-US travel taskforce. The fact that we do not have transatlantic travel at the moment is costing our UK economy about £32 million a day, and that puts us at a competitive disadvantage compared with many other countries.”
On the success of the vaccination programme, Henry said: "I pay tribute to the Government for the world successful vaccination programme. More than 70 million doses have been delivered, but we are squandering that advantage by being overly cautious and not being able to open up. This is about global Britain. This is about international trade. This is about people’s jobs. I urge the Government to allow aviation to safely reopen, which it can do with vaccination and testing.”
Please click here for the full text and video of Henry’s speech.