Justin Tomlinson MP

Justin Tomlinson MP

MP For North Swindon

Swindon Advertiser Column - Christmas Shows Incredible Ability To Help Others

Christmas Day saw the first King’s speech since King George IV’s address in 1951 – it was a first for many of us and certainly felt strange & poignant at first. In his speech, King Charles spoke about the late Queen’s faith in people, in particular the “belief in the extraordinary ability of each person to touch, with goodness and compassion, the lives of others, and to shine a light in the world around them.”

As an MP I am privileged to be able to witness the incredible ability of people here in Swindon to help others and make ours a caring, compassionate community. This year we have seen this more than ever. None more so in our determination to help and welcome Ukrainians fleeing Putin’s barbaric war. When this shocking event first happened, the UK & Swindon stepped up to help in whichever way it could. The UK was the first country to start sending military aid to Ukraine and has been its closest ally throughout the ongoing war.

Swindonians signed up to welcome Ukranian refugees into their homes and local donation points were overwhelmed with donations of clothes & essentials which were sent out to Ukraine as well as to local families here. I met with the Ukrainian community here in Swindon and we worked to assist in creating safe passages for donations to refugee points in Poland and elsewhere, and of course to welcome fleeing Ukrainians here in Swindon, assisting them with immediate housing and access to essential support. All of this was achieved with the help & kindness of local people.

Elsewhere the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic continues to be felt across the world with global inflation rising resulting in high food and energy prices. Provoked by the extraordinary demand for goods in 2021 as countries emerged from lockdowns, shops opened, and people were able to go out and buy things with money saved during weeks of economic inactivity. There was also a global surge in demand for oil which has been exacerbated by the war in Ukraine. Europe has (rightly) had to end its dependency on Russian Oil causing an even further surge in demand and increased prices.

The resulting global Cost of Living challenge has also shone a light on those in our community who are all too willing to help those in need. We have seen people continue to make donations to charity, visible this year with my annual Christmas Appeal which saw a record number of gifts donated to families in the Women’s Refuge. The Government has also continued to act with compassion. Following Covid-19 and our furlough scheme which kept millions in employment, we are now spending billions of pounds in support for the most vulnerable and all households with their energy bills. We rightly recognise that in these unprecedented times, money needs to be spent to support those most impacted by rising costs. We continue to be one of the most generous Governments in terms of the support it has provided throughout Covid-19 and during the ongoing post-pandemic recovery. So, in these uncertain times, we can be comforted by the fact that wherever you look, there are people acting with compassion and kindness.

As we turn to 2023, may I wish all readers a very Happy New Year.

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