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Positive steps towards economic recovery

3 March 2021

A draft Economic Recovery Plan outlining a vision for Crawley’s future prosperity and recovery from the pandemic has been presented to the town’s Economic Recovery Taskforce.

Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the town’s economy. The Taskforce will steer development of the plan, in response to the true impact of the crisis and will work together to unlock and harness public and private investment to the maximum benefit of Crawley’s community.

The devastating impact has included:

  • A major collapse in Gatwick Airport passenger numbers – nearly four million per month (2019) to 850,000 per month (2020) – has resulted in more than 7,000 redundancies at the airport – nearly 33 per cent of the workforce
  • As many as 25,800 Crawley residents have been furloughed during the past year; this is 41% of the eligible local workforce
  • Unemployment in Crawley has more than trebled from 2.4 per cent to more than eight per cent
  • Youth unemployment is almost 13 per cent, which is nearly 1,000 young people

The Economic Recovery Plan is designed to provide a clear vision for Crawley’s future socio-economic prosperity, a clear path for recovery from the pandemic and a marker to Crawley’s formidable reputation for economic productivity.

The proposed strategic priorities of the plan are:

  • A diverse and resilient economy – renew Crawley as an attractive, abundant, diverse economic powerhouse, founded on “green growth” and digital innovation
  • Green transformation – establish Crawley at the forefront of “green growth” and as a place where green technology businesses thrive
  • Town centre renewal – secure a vibrant neighbourhood and sustainable economic future for the town centre via significant qualitative investment
  • Skills for the future – to significantly improve overall social mobility among Crawley residents, creating powerful and effective skills pathways
  • Connected Crawley – to enhance a “green” economic future for Crawley by delivering low carbon transport and hyper-digital connectivity

Also at the meeting, the Taskforce:

  • Received a presentation from Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership on the Freeport bid. Freeport status for Gatwick Airport and Manor Royal would support the safeguarding and creation of jobs and help the recovery of the aviation sector. Plans will provide import and export incentives, unlock major infrastructure upgrades, and enhance the delivery of a potential new multi-million pound Innovation Centre
  • Heard an update from Julie Kapsalis from Chichester College Group on their bid to secure investment in new skills training facilities at Crawley College which, if successful, would benefit residents and be focused on local employer needs
  • Discussed the significant bid to the Towns Fund

The pandemic has had a huge impact on the local economy and unemployment levels in Crawley. We are committed, along with our public and private sector partners, to take the action necessary to get us on the road to recovery and are calling on the government to offer Crawley the support that it needs at this time.

Cllr Peter Smith

Cabinet member for Planning and Economic Development

I sense a real desire from all parties to support the council’s plans for a recovery of the local economy, and you should see an impact whether you are a resident, an employer or employee, a learner or a place of learning within the town. It shows Crawley coming together to benefit all.

Chris Maidment

Chair of the Crawley Economic Recovery Taskforce and Town Deal Board

The Taskforce brings together the council, senior business and voluntary sector representatives, Crawley’s MP, a government representative, the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership and West Sussex County Council.

The final plan will be adopted in the summer, subject to a period of public consultation and consideration by the council’s Cabinet.

For more details on the Taskforce visit the Crawley Borough Council Crawley Economic Recovery Task Force and Town Deal Board page.