From Michelle Donelan <[email protected]>
Subject Queen's speech and latest updates from Michelle Donelan MP
Date October 13, 2019 7:29 PM
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The latest news and updates from Michelle Donelan MP

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Email: michelle.don[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES

** Queen's speech and latest updates

Nearly 28 months have passed since our last Queen’s Speech and it is fair to say that quite a lot has changed in that time. As we approach a much-needed Queen’s Speech next week, this is a good opportunity to look ahead to a couple of the announcements we may see in the speech and how the new programme of national renewal will help us here in Wiltshire.

First and foremost, my request to the Prime Minister has been to use this speech as the starting gun for Parliament and the country to move beyond Brexit and get cracking with the other issues that the country wants us to focus on.

One of the issues I am passionate about is tackling domestic abuse and providing more shootout for victims this is something that a huge number of people I speak to raise as something they want to see action on. Having supported local charity HDVD - Help Victims of Domestic Violence - I know the scale of the challenge and how local as well as national action is needed. Both women and men have come to me having suffered horrific abuse at the hands of a partner and for many years there has not been a quick enough response for victims who need support and shelter when they decide to leave the home.

This new session provides us with a great opportunity to pass the Domestic Abuse Bill which will ensure that councils provide shelter for domestic abuse victims so that we can end the cycle of abuse for the thousands going through it right now. Having lobbied very hard with the Prime Minister, this Bill will be a priority when we return and I suspect that all MPs will want to come together and rally behind this vitally important part of our legislative plan.

The next session will also be one in which a new Armed Forces Bill is required and I have been passing the views of local servicemen and women, as well as veterans on to the Ministry of Defence in preparation for the new Bill. Wiltshire’s military tradition is something I am incredibly proud of and I know that the Prime Minister shares my passion for our forces. We have made some excellent progress on this and I am very pleased to say that the MoD intends to legislate for a new compensation scheme for deaths or injuries sustained by service personnel in combat in the coming session.

There are also proposals to afford greater protection from the threat of prosecution for alleged historical offences when serving in combat, which the Prime Minister has already confirmed will be brought into law during the next session when time allows. This is something that I will not only support, but will be a part of by ensuring that people across Wiltshire are able to have their ideas and views taken into account as the Bill is formed.

So I am looking forward to a very positive Queen’s Speech and a move back to focusing on our NHS, police, education, armed forces, environment and all the other vital areas that Brexit has had a monopoly over.

If you would like a surgery appointment please call 01249 704465 or email michelle.don[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])

Yesterday I attended a lovely Harvest Supper in Hilperton, organised by Grace Reformed Baptist Church. This was one of the last in the season. With globalisation we don’t put as much emphasis on Harvest as we used to and we often forget to take stock, thank our farmers and celebrate the food grown on the land. So I want to take this opportunity to thank our Wiltshire farmers and landowners. The event last night was a great community evening with lots of laughter and chatter over some very nice home cooked food.

I am passionate about education it really can transform lives and create opportunities. I have campaigned for more money for our schools for years - even before I was an MP. We recently announced £14 Billion EXTRA and on Friday the Department of a Education announced that it will mean schools in Wiltshire will get 5.3% more per pupil next year, a total of £15.5m of additional funding (subject to changes in pupil numbers).

So in Wiltshire all primary schools will see per-pupil funding increase to a minimum of £3,750 next year. In addition, all secondary schools will see per-pupil funding increase to a minimum of £5,000 next year.

The provisional allocation of high needs funding (which includes SEND) is £51.3m for Wiltshire next year which is 8.2% per head more than this year.

This is amazing news for our local schools and the funds will enable our fantastic teachers to continue to inspire, encourage and educate the next generation.

On Friday I visited Hardenhuish School, Chippenham to chat to the teachers and pupils about the increase along with some other topics. The school is attracting £6,195,000 in total next year (based on current pupil numbers), or £5,000 per pupil – that reflects an increase of 4.25% in pupil-led funding compared to last year.

Last Sunday I held an Over 55s event at Melksham Assembly Hall, bringing together and promoting local organisations and businesses who provided assistance from financial advice to information. A range of organisations attended including charities, local clubs and societies, immigration and health advice, companies in the financial, home assistance and travel sector and much much more.

Over 300 residents attended – I held it on the weekend to accommodate those who work because at 55 people are certainly not in the older bracket and most do not retire then. I am aware though at this age, some people do start to retire or look for new social networks and this is recognised by Age UK and Saga – hence why my event is open for all over 55 years old.

Organisations that attended 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 more local groups and societies.

I really enjoyed being able to visit Octavian Wines, Gastard last week to discover more about their wine storage business with a very unusual unique selling point. They came to the recent Disability Confident event I ran and are now in the process of working to achieve their status as a ’disability confident’ employer committed to ensuring that everyone has equal opportunities.

I got to go down to the mines and see how the wine is stored, spanning nearly a million square feet of mines, first quarried in 1868 to provide the pale coloured stone we associate with a lot of our Georgian architecture, the mines were occupied by the MOD during the Second World War and now provide an unrivalled optimum environment for the storage of wine. The steps down to the mine were not for the faint-hearted but I was very glad to have the opportunity to visit and to meet the local residents who work for Octavian.

Don’t miss a great evening - book your place on the Sunday 3rd November Curry Fundraiser for Wiltshire Mind at The Raj, Chippenham. Wiltshire Mind is a local independent Mental Health Charity based in Melksham. They are a voluntary organisation affiliated to Mind and do such amazing work supporting people across the county. [link removed]
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For tickets email [email protected]
Email: michelle.don[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES

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