Everybody knows the last four months have been difficult. Across the world, measures to contain the Coronavirus to levels where health services can cope, has meant severe economic consequences. Things will get better, but in the short term further economic pain is expected, resulting in negative impacts across the board.
We’ve been used to economic growth and low unemployment in Crawley for a long time. This year’s massive economic shock is changing this and will be working its way through, before we pick back up to our long-term trend of high economic activity and growth.
As well as many more Crawley residents needing support, and despite additional government support for local government in the billions, we know that just like national government, that local government has major financial challenges in order to meet the demands being placed upon it. Council income has dried up considerably and will take time to pick back up, meaning that this year will be the toughest.
During July, it’s been well-documented in the local media that Crawley Borough Council had become politically unstable due to two councillors resigning from the Labour party. This changed the Council from having a Labour majority of one to becoming NOC (no overall control) with 17 Conservative councillors, 16 Labour, 2 left-wing Independents and one vacancy. With no elections able to be held until next May, a potential political paralysis risked serious instability at the Council for the next nine months, at the very time when stability and focus is needed more than ever.
This is why Crawley political history was made last week, with both Conservative and Labour councillors pledging to work together until next May, in order to give all of our focus and energy on supporting our town at this difficult time. It is not a formal coalition, but confidence and supply provided by the Conservatives to the Council’s Labour leadership, with joint decision making and joint accountability. Our agreement has seen a Conservative Mayor (Cllr Francis Guidera) elected for the first time in seven years, and he is determined to champion our town and Crawley’s local businesses.
Councillor Duncan Crow, Leader of Crawley Borough Council Conservative Group
22nd July 2020