The Government’s approach throughout this pandemic has rightly been to support families, particularly those on low incomes. This has been through a range of measures worth over a huge £280 billion, including the furlough scheme, catch up funding for schools, a £500 million Hardship Fund and a £7 billion increase to welfare. The furlough scheme has helped many Crawley residents who haven’t been able to work due to the impact on aviation and its knock-on effects.
With most children now learning from home, the government have ensured that those who would’ve received free school meals continue to access it, either through vouchers or food parcels. The government have also put in place the £170 million Covid Winter Grant Scheme, to help the least well-off families pay for food and bills, including through the upcoming February half term.
While some politicians have shamelessly sought to play politics throughout the pandemic, sow division and seek political advantage, the reality is that the Conservative government has consistently stepped up to support low income families and the most vulnerable in society throughout this pandemic and will continue to do so.
Sadly, we know aviation has been terribly affected and that has badly impacted Crawley. Last week’s news of Norwegian Air ceasing their long-haul flights was devastating for many local people with the job losses that will entail.
A further blow is the suspension of travel corridors, meaning all international arrivals will need to quarantine for ten days, as well as requiring proof of a negative pre-departure Covid test within 72 hours prior to the journey. This will help slow the spread of new variants of the virus whilst millions receive their vaccinations. There are already significant measures in place to prevent imported cases of Covid-19, but with new strains of the virus developing internationally, further precautions had to be taken.
The government then announced its Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme, which will support airports and help reduce their costs during this challenging period. It was good to see Gatwick Airport say that they welcomed this announcement and that it will protect Airport jobs.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
20th January 2021