From Michelle Donelan <[email protected]>
Subject Easter E-News 2021
Date April 1, 2021 9:23 PM
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Email: [email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES


Last Easter, I wrote to you in the midst of the first lockdown when we faced weeks and months at home and our Easter weekend suddenly became very different to previous years. This Easter, however, I write to you in the middle of this country’s fantastically successful vaccine rollout with over 30 million vaccines being delivered, representing 57% of all UK adults and the vast majority of those deemed most vulnerable.

My gratitude and sincere thanks goes out to everyone who has worked on this vital mission from the researchers at Oxford University, to the Vaccines Taskforce, to the Armed Forces, and our incredible National Health Service and primary care networks, all of whom have worked phenomenally to get us to where we are today.

This week we have also taken the first official “Step” out of lockdown, allowing us to see friends and family of up to six people or two households outdoors. Outdoor sport facilities such as tennis and basketball courts can reopen and grassroots sports will be in full swing with the official “stay at home” rule ending.

Before the 12^th April, when so many of the shops and outdoor hospitality venues we love will be able to reopen, we have a real opportunity to keep transmission low whilst enjoying the outdoors and outdoor activities, whether that be seeing family in the garden or playing football in the park.

With a clear roadmap out of lockdown, I will continue to highlight how both central and local government can support the reopening of businesses here in Wiltshire and I am working hard to ensure we bounce back from Covid as strongly as possible.

To this end, I recently announced that Wiltshire is one of the first areas to receive government funding to support the safe and successful reopening of our high streets. I put our case directly to the Communities Secretary and we now have one of the highest allocations under the Welcome Back Fund, allowing Wiltshire Council to directly improve outdoor spaces and the added measure of giving pubs and restaurant flexibility on outdoor seating will be reinforced by a series of fairer parking measures, something I have campaigned on for years, which will ultimately encourage more people to return to our town centres and I am very much looking forward to meeting constituents and businesses in person once again.


From Holt and Staverton, to Melksham and Chippenham, across our constituency our local NHS and keyworkers here have vaccinated a grand total of 46,743 since our vaccine rollout begin. This amount includes those who have received at least one dose of the vaccine.

This is a massive achievement for the Chippenham Constituency and represents true community resilience, with constituents willing to step up and take the vaccine and our NHS navigating the complicated logistics of getting the vaccine here and then finally administering it; with our roadmap moving ahead as planned. With infection rates dropping, we're on target to regain our freedoms after experiencing the worst public health emergency in decades.

However, we're not out of the woods yet - let's keep this up for a while longer as we're nearly over the line!
I have been helping a number of Greensquare residents over the last few months including those living at Kings Avenue in Corsham.

I have been working with Cllr Alun Crockford and pushing their CEO to resolve the issues urgently.

The green at Kings Avenue has been used as a road to properties. This has resulted in near misses with people walking along the footpath and substantial damage to the grass.

Greensquare recently implemented a plan using boulders. The plan was to block vehicles from being able to drive across the grass and footpath. The implementation of this plan however caused several issues, including what was believed to be a cracked water pipe. Heavy machinery also drove over the green causing damage to the grass. The boulders don’t even fully block access for vehicles but they do restrict the ability of residents to enjoy using the green space!

Cllr Crockford met on site with a Greensquare employee and went through the concerns with the implementation.
Bus Travel

Since first being elected back in 2015, I have supported local bus services to enable all to stay mobile but also as a way to reduce cars on our roads and support our vitally important agenda on climate change and air pollution. Last year I had the great pleasure of meeting with Faresaver in Chippenham to ensure the continuity of a regular bus service from Melksham to Bath.

Bus drivers are amongst some of our local unsung heroes so I’d like to take this opportunity to say thank you. They have for example enabled keyworkers to get to work and people to get their vaccine.

We have launched a new, long-term National Bus Strategy for England, outside London. Backed by more than £3 billion, it will deliver cheaper, more frequent and more reliable bus services for passengers. Over 50% of public transport journeys in the UK take place by bus.

We expect councils and operators, working together, to provide:

🚌 Cheaper single bus fares, with daily price caps.
🚌 More integrated services and ticketing across all transport modes in an area, so people can easily move from bus to train.
🚌 Easy to access information, including online.
🚌 Contactless payments on all buses.
🚌 Easier access for disabled people onboard buses.

The strategy also sets out our ambitious roadmap to a zero-emission bus fleet, and alongside the strategy we have also launched a consultation on ending the sale of new diesel buses in England.

After the local elections I shall call a meeting between Wiltshire Council and bus operators in our area so we can take advantage of what this strategy has to offer.

Bristol protests

I was extremely concerned to see that police were injured in Bristol last week and that a peaceful protest should result in mindless vandalism of cars parked nearby and destruction of police vehicles and equipment for which the taxpayer will have to foot the bill. The protest during the night must have been terrifying for residents living nearby.

Our police have worked hard in very difficult circumstances, having to police restrictions on freedoms that they have always sought to safeguard - often putting themselves in harms way. It is so disappointing that their efforts to keep the peace should be met with such violence and certainly doesn’t represent our region at its best.

Sarah Everard

Every woman and girl should feel safe in our communities. No words really do this justice but my thoughts and prayers are with Sarah’s family and friends at this devastatingly tragic time.

More work does need to be done which is why the Home Secretary reopened our survey on tackling violence against women and girls (here ([link removed]) ). The results will shape our Violence Against Women And Girls Strategy which will be published this year and police forces across the country, including Wiltshire Police, have been piloting a system where they identify and record any crimes of violence against the person, including stalking and harassment, as well as sexual offences where the victim perceives it to have been motivated by a hostility based on their sex.

Corsham Station

I am still pushing and working to deliver Corsham Station. Recently I have worked with Wiltshire Council on our latest bid for the Government Restoring Your Railway Ideas Fund.

I am the lead sponsor and I have written directly to the Minister of State for Railways, Chris Heaton-Harris, to support the bid and make the case for the station. We have some great regional backing and having spoken to our neighbouring MPs the following submitted letters to back up the regional benefits in North Wiltshire, North East Somerset, Somerton and Frome, South Swindon, Bath and Devizes constituencies.

I have already heard back from the Department for Transport acknowledging the bid and they are planning to convene the Panel, who will review the third round of bids in May. I hope to update you all in due course to inform you of the outcome.

War Memorials

The Desecration of War Memorials Bill is becoming law and it will scrap the current rule that limits jail terms to a maximum of only three months if under £5,000 worth of damage is caused.

Instead, it means those who damage our memorials will face up to 10 years in jail and/or a fine of up to £2,500 regardless of the value of the damage to a memorial. Any damage to war memorials insults the memory of those who fought and died for us. I believe they are both a fitting and an inspiring reminder that we should never forget the sacrifice, bravery, and courage so many displayed to give us our today.

Schools Reopening

I hope all school pupils and college students as well as creative and practical university students have enjoyed the return of face to face teaching and I want to say a massive thank you to all teachers, lecturers and parents who have worked so hard over the last year.

So many local parents have managed to home-school whilst also holding down their jobs which is no small achievement. We are certainly not out of the woods yet but the reopening of educational settings was a massively positive step forward. We have always prioritised education so it is only right we opened up schools, colleges and universities first.

The Chancellor’s Budget

The Chancellor's Budget in the House of Commons promised to do whatever it takes to provide security and stability during the pandemic. This budget continues to deliver on that promise with £407 Billion of support for families, businesses and jobs over the next year. More than any other country in the world.

The Budget protects the jobs and livelihoods of the British people with a three-part plan:
(1) Supporting people and businesses through this moment of crisis.
(2) Beginning to fix the public finances with a fair and honest plan about how to do so.
(3) Building our future economy.

As the IMF, Bank of England and OBR have all confirmed: our plan is working. As a result of our interventions, unemployment is now estimated to peak at far lower levels than previously expected, and our economy is now forecast to recover faster than previously thought as well.

Highlights that residents in Chippenham constituency will be particularly interested to hear include:
* An extension of the Furlough Scheme to the end of September 2021
* An extension of SEISS for a 5th grant
* Business Rates holiday extended for eligible businesses in retail, hospitality and leisure
* VAT cut extended for the tourism and hospitality sector
* Stamp Duty Holiday extended to 30 September 2021
* Alcohol Duty to be frozen for the second year in a row
* Fuel Duty frozen for the eleventh year in a row
* No rise in the rates of income tax, national insurance, or VAT. Also delivering on our promise to increase the Personal Allowance next year to £12,570.

Full information can be found at the following link: [link removed] ([link removed])
Email: [email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES

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