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** Get Britain out of Neutral
This election is happening because a gridlocked and broken Parliament refused to respect the referendum result – or let the Government govern. The choice is between a majority government that can act or another paralysed hung Parliament that cannot.
A Conservative majority government will:
* Get Brexit done
* Ensure there are 50,000 more nurses and put record investment in the NHS
* Recruit 20,000 more police and tougher sentences
* Invest in education, technology, and infrastructure to drive opportunity and prosperity
* Keep the economy strong and debt low
A hung Parliament stuck in neutral with more of the same indecision and uncertainty we have had for the last three years:
* Corbyn as PM propped up by Nicola Sturgeon
* Two more chaotic referendums on Brexit and Scotland
* A reckless economic policy that takes us back to square one – with higher debt and taxes you will pay for
Every vote counts, and the Conservatives only need 9 more seats to win a majority government that will:
* Stop the chaos
* End the uncertainty
* Get Brexit done
* Unleash Britain’s potential
** Ending hospital parking charges
I have always been opposed to parking charges at hospitals and seen them as a tax on the sick and those visiting them. I am delighted that we have announced a Conservative government that would end unfair hospital car parking charges by making parking free for those in greatest need, including disabled people, frequent outpatient attenders, parents of sick children staying overnight and staff working night shifts.
** Better Mental Health Services
With ongoing pressures and the changing nature of how we live in the modern age with things like social media, understanding mental health issues and looking after our own mental health has become more important than ever. This is why last month I organised a fundraiser for the fantastic local mental health charity, Wiltshire Mind, which is based in Melksham and does a wonderful job in actively helping people who struggle with their mental health. There is never going to be a simple answer or solution to how we can tackle mental health conditions that in some respects we still do not fully understand, however I am confident that the expansion of existing mental health services is essential.
Mental health services are rightly receiving the fastest increase in funding as part of the £33.9 billion investment in our NHS which this Government has committed over the five-year settlement. This will mean much better access to community and crisis mental health services for adults, children and young people and significant investment in the mental health of young pupil by supporting schools and colleges to introduce new mental health teams and train leaders for their pupils’ mental health.
It is fantastic news that the Chippenham constituency will be among the second wave of trailblazer areas to benefit from these Mental Health support teams. These will work with schools and colleges to provide a link with young people’s mental health services, ensuring more pupils people get the help and support they need, when they need it. Local schools and colleges will also get priority access next year to mental health training. This is such an important and sensitive issue which we have to get right and I will be doing everything I can to support local and national efforts.
Community and social groups make a massive difference when it comes to tackling loneliness and especially through the safe and welcoming spaces they provide. This is why I have been supporting social clubs like Chippenham Men’s Shed who do a fantastic job of enabling members to create their own projects for community benefit all alongside friendly company. The “Green Café” which is hosted by the Cornerstone Café in Lacock provides another monthly opportunity to meet others over a cup of tea, building a sense of community and combatting loneliness.
Whilst it is not something we may often think about, loneliness can really affect people, particularly when we grow older and sometimes lose touch with friends and family. I have written and spoken to the Minister of Sport, Civil Society and Loneliness about the risk of social isolation and the need to improve transport links in rural areas to make sure residents are able to access the community groups which make such a difference. I am therefore thrilled that the Government is investing in local bus services whilst making them more accessible for disabled passengers. Public transport is essential for our nationwide transport plan because not only is it essential for linking up our communities, it also reduces our carbon footprint so its expansion is doubly vital.
This year I have been holding several Over 55’s Information and Advice Fairs to help raise awareness for the amazing work local and national organisations are doing in our area and the active social networks which are available in our constituency. Hundreds of charities and groups and even more constituents attended to make these events a great success and a real opportunity to build friendships and get in touch with people with similar interests. Loneliness and social isolation are real issues and Wiltshire charities like Dorothy House, who I have supported for many years, are committed to tackling them and, coupled with our national efforts, I believe we can continue to make fantastic progress.
** Better access for people with a disability
People with a disability must have the same opportunities as people without a disability and I have been working hard to raise awareness of the range of disabilities people can have from mental to physical and to demonstrate just how much they can bring to a team. I organised a Disability Confident Event to specifically address this issue and I brought together small and large local businesses with charities like Pluss and Wiltshire Mind to get businesses thinking how they can be more accessible and provide potential employees with an equal opportunity.
I was so moved to hear the positive experiences of several people with a disability who had used the fantastic government scheme, Disability Confident, and the leading disability employment specialist, Pluss, to get into work and join a welcoming and caring team. Everyone in the room was inspired by how strong these individuals had been and how well the employer had accommodated the person with a disability by simply being considerate and understanding. I am so pleased how engaged local businesses are to help and expand their organisation with a diverse and vibrant workforce which can be so vital to a happy and productive team and we are now seeing businesses right across Wiltshire sign up to Disability Confident.
I am committed to raising awareness of how we can all be more accommodating to people with a disability and to show businesses that government will help them and guide them to ensure everybody in this country, whether they have a condition or not, has the same employment opportunities. Spreading awareness is essential and the work that charities like Turning Point, the Down Syndrome Association and Mencap are doing across the country is fantastic, which makes it all the more important they are brought into contact with our local businesses at events like the one I ran. It is one of my goals to continue holding more Disability Confident Events in the future so we can make Wiltshire the most welcoming county in the country.
Our mailing address is:
Office of Michelle Donelan
1 Swift Way, Bowerhill
Melksham, Wiltshire SN12 6GS
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