Last Updated: 07 January 2020
Created: 07 January 2020
2020 has arrived! With a new Government in place dominating the news headlines, there is still vital work locally to be done.
Local Health Services – Robert Buckland MP and I were thrilled to have helped secure the £30m to expand the A&E at the GWH, and £15m for the proposed Radiotherapy Centre. We will be working with the GWH to bring forward both projects as quickly as possible, which will be a real boost for local patients. Rightly funding for the NHS is increasing, and we will continue to push for Swindon’s share, vital not just for the GWH but for increasing the number of GPs and appointments in our local GP Surgeries.
Local Economy – The news of Honda’s planned closure will not just impact the Honda factory but also the supply chain, so the Honda Taskforce is a real priority for everyone involved. Swindon has faced similar challenges in the past with the closure of the railway works, and the ups and downs with the car factories, but each time we have been able to attract new investment. Since 2010 alone, over 11,000 new jobs have been created in Swindon. With our diverse & skilled workforce, excellent transport links and the Honda site in a prime location, we remain confident of attracting new employers to Swindon and realise that this has never been more important.
Train station – The new timetable is allowing commuters to see the benefits of the faster, new electric trains. This is a real boost for our local economy, but the next ask will be to bring forward plans to expand Swindon station to allow for increased capacity. This is a vital ask of the Honda Taskforce to strengthen our chances of attracting new employers and investment.
Development – Swindon continues to grow with new housing. It is crucial we work with developers to control the speed, location and quality of development. Robert and I have been successful in securing significant infrastructure funding to make sure local roads, services and facilities are upgraded before, not after, major development. We will continue to support Swindon Borough Council as they bring forward new plans.
Town Centre – With the onslaught of online shopping hitting town centres all over the country, we very much welcome the announcement to cut business rates for small businesses. I also remain supportive of wider Business Rates reform away from traditional bricks and mortar to online businesses. High Streets are vital, providing 11% of jobs in the economy and we must support the retail sector to adapt to the changing habits.
Sport – We have seen a strong finish to 2019 for Swindon Robins, Swindon Town, Swindon Supermarine and Swindon Wildcats – 2020 has the potential to be very exciting for all fellow supporters! I will also continue to champion School sport, especially after school and during the holidays, such as the fantastic Draycott Sports Camp who help keep children active all year round.
Finally, I’d like to pay my thanks to all the volunteers and charities who do so much in our local community, often without thanks or recognition. Both Robert and I will continue to visit, support and champion their work throughout 2020. May I wish all readers a very happy new year!