It has been over a year since the government announced Crawley would receive up to £25m as one of 100 Town Deals, yet 13 months on Crawley has not seen a penny of the money.
The government announced ‘Town Deals’ last year in the run-up to the General Election, with the stated purpose of ‘supporting towns to build prosperous futures.’
Since that time, the impact of the government’s COVID-19 restrictions coupled with their decision not to follow the example of other major economies by supporting the British aviation industry has resulted in Crawley’s economy being hit harder than any other in the UK. Yet, requests to ministers for support have failed to deliver a commitment to the area greater than the Town Deal.
Although Crawley’s economy has been hit harder by COVID-19 than any other, Crawley has been excluded the first tranche of Town Deals announced today, leaving uncertainty as to when—if ever—the funding will be made available. Furthermore, despite having been told that the maximum amount an area could bid for was £25m, the £39.5m allocated to Blackpool, suggests that much needed funding could be lost out on due to inaccurate information from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.
Cllr Lamb said:
“This money was promised to Crawley before anyone had ever heard of COVID-19. Since that time, Crawley’s economy has been hit harder than any other by the government’s regulations, with thousands of jobs lost, and despite the promises we have yet to see any of the funding.
“There is simply no excuse for Crawley not forming part of the first tranche of Town Deals or for the government misleading councils as to the amount they could bid for.
“Every day they delay further they costs Crawley more local businesses and more local jobs.”