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Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES
** Listening to Veterans
Listening to the stories and insights of an elderly veteran in Chippenham recently, it became clear to me that what sets the British Armed Forces above the rest is our people – the extraordinary men and women in uniform who serve all over the world to defend British values and interests.
Many of these service personnel serve right here in Wiltshire and although we have a proud history of honouring our Armed Forces in this county, often they do not get the recognition they deserve for their sacrifices and from day one as an MP I wanted to do what I could to put that right. So much of our focus at the moment is how divided people are over Brexit and I think that everyone here in Wiltshire is tired of the subject.
However quietly getting on with the job in hand are over 11,000 British servicemen and women who are thousands of miles from their families, keeping the peace in almost every corner of the globe with exceptional professionalism and they need to know that their politicians are behind them.
I took a very clear message to the new Chancellor earlier this year, which was that both serving and veteran personnel in my constituency want to see the British Armed Forces become the most well equipped, technologically advanced in military in the world no matter what else is happening in British politics.
We have always been at the forefront in terms of ingenuity, technology and attitude. Supporting this requires a serious commitment from the Chancellor, so I am delighted to say that he has granted an incredible £2.2bn funding increase for our Armed Forces so they can modernise and upgrade their equipment – this exceeds our NATO spending commitment and will provide those serving overseas with the confidence to overcome the new challenges they face. Locally, this will assist in providing peace of mind to the families of those serving abroad and I will also be pushing for some of the funding to go toward better video links between soldiers abroad and their families at home, which is something I know means a huge amount to many people in the area.
As we here in Wiltshire know, investing in our Armed Forces not only has a positive impact across the world but boosts skills, jobs and innovation right here in the UK if we make the right commitments to building our equipment in our own country. I have said for as long as I can remember that the country that managed to build the Spitfire with old pots and pans should be able to build its modern equipment here in the UK today.
By building our equipment abroad we miss a huge opportunity to train people here and give young engineers, designers and technical workers some invaluable experience. I know that this is a feeling that is shared by the new Prime Minister and I was glad to see that the new order of Royal Navy Type 31 frigates will be built right here in the UK as part of the Prime Minister’s effort to reinstate the UK as a great shipbuilding nation. This will mean that a generation of young British engineers and skilled shipbuilders will have the chance to gain on-the-job experience and over 2,500 of them are expected to be hired as a result of this new order.
I do want to flag up the new role of Veterans Minister. This really ensures that they have a strong voice and that we can put an end to the shameful legal cases brought against some of the Northern Ireland veterans. They absolutely have my support and I am backing new proposals to provide legal protections.
If you know anyone who would like to stay up to date with what I am doing around the Chippenham Constituency and my views on a number of issues, please tell them to subscribe to my e-news using the following link: [link removed]
The very sad news we have received overnight about Thomas Cook will be worrying and distressing for all employees and holiday makers alike. The Government have taken steps to ensure the safe repatriation of all Thomas Cook customers currently abroad, the largest peacetime operation of its kind. My heartfelt sympathies go out to the employees of Thomas Cook, especially those in the Chippenham branch. The DWP’s Jobcentre Plus Rapid Response Service is there to help workers get back into employment as soon as possible.
The advice is to passengers is to visit thomascook.caa.co.uk ([link removed]) in the first instance and if you still need help please do not hesitate to contact my office on or 01249704465
I am holding my second Over 55’s Information and Advice Fair in Melksham Assembly Hall on Sunday 6th October 2019. Do pop along between 3 – 5 pm. You can either save the above image or download a PDF HERE ([link removed]) .
At 55 people are certainly not in the older bracket and most do not retire then. That’s why it is being held on the weekend. However some people do start to retire or look for new social networks so this is the age that Age UK and Saga use – hence why my event is open for all over 55 years old.
This event follows on from my previous one in Chippenham which was attended by over 400 residents.
Organisations attending the event include: Pensions Wise, Alzheimer’s Support, Building Bridges, Help for Heroes, Prostate Cancer, Cancer Research UK, Royal British Legion, Immigration Advice Service, Melksham & District Flowering Arranging Society, Nordic Walking UK and many many more local groups and societies.
If you are interested in having a stand please contact 01249 704465 or [email protected]
Which is your favourite local pub in the Chippenham constituency? Whether it’s in Chippenham town, Melksham, Corsham, Bradford on Avon, or the surrounding villages, let me know. All 650 MPs are invited to submit a pub from their constituency who will go on to battle it out to be crowned Parliamentary Pub of the Year.
Please email me on [email protected] which pub you think is good enough and why you think it should be Parliamentary Pub of the Year. Entries close on Friday 27th September at 5pm.
Earlier this month, I organised for another two coaches of constituents to come to Parliament. As with the previous visit on the 6th of September, constituents enjoyed a tour and an hour long Q and A with me. We talked about a wide range of topics from local to national.
It is always a privilege to be able to organise visits and tours for people from the very constituency that elected me to represent them in Westminster.
I am planning more trips so if you are interested please get in touch [email protected]
I recently received a letter from Oscar (who is 9 years old) to tell me he has applied to be the Speaker of the House of Commons. As Minister for Children and Families I think it's great that Oscar has taken such a keen interest in politics. What do you all think, should we give him a trial?
I have previously spoken about the huge new NHS funding increases the Prime Minister announced. These will allow us to upgrade our hospitals in the coming months and is something that I know is supported across Wiltshire.
Investment in technology is equally important. Healthcare of the future will be technology-based and the kinds of technology already available could make massive differences to people’s lives here in Wiltshire if we are bold enough to invest in them.
As part of this, I have been big advocate of making the UK the world leader of investing in medical technology, so that we do not just keep up with the rest of the world, but we actually get ahead of emerging technologies too, making our hospitals the most advanced in the world.
Many people reading this will know just how important early diagnosis is for cancer and other debilitating illnesses, so I have lobbied the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and asked him to get behind an ambitious and unprecedented improvement in our current NHS technology.
After lots of campaigning and the support of residents in Wiltshire, I am delighted to say that our incredible NHS healthcare workers will now have access to technologies that will speed up diagnoses for cancer and provide better treatment for life changing diseases, including Dementia and Parkinson’s, that simply did not exist ten years ago.
The Government is investing £133million in brand new technologies such as gene-based therapies and Artificial Intelligence that will save thousands of lives. The UK Research and Innovation Chief Executive, Sir Mark Walport, has welcomed the project by saying: “This £133 million investment will tackle important chronic diseases and also create a national centre of evidence for implementing the best evidence to provide adult social care.”
Exciting news this month on investment in green technology. The Government has announced investment in tech to create cleaner air and food, better recycling and £400 million will go into new electric car charging points.
We must prioritise the stewardship of our environment on an individual, local, national and international level. The UK has already reduced CO2 emissions by over 40% since 1990, and with sustained action, together we will be able to hit our national target of net zero emissions by 2050.
Earlier this month was #backbritishfarming ([link removed]) day. I remain committed to helping farmers as we exit the EU and I have been in contact with the NFU in the Chippenham constituency to send a survey to all their members to find out what really matters to the farming community and what I can do to help.
Our mailing address is:
Office of Michelle Donelan MP
61 New Road
Chippenham, Wiltshire SN15 1ES
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