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News From Westminster-By Michelle Donelan MP

NHS funding and ME support

Since being elected I have been pushing hard for more funding for our NHS, so I was delighted with the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of an additional £20bn in real terms for our most valuable national asset by 2023/4.

This increase represents £394M per week in additional funding, which is greater than the amount promised by the Leave Campaign in the 2016 referendum. It remains important however, that our NHS is efficient, with every penny well spent and bureaucracy reduced, so I am delighted that this will be prioritised as part of the soon to be announced 10-year plan for the service.

Some of the extra funding will come from using the money we will no longer spend on our annual membership to the European Union. The reality though, is that this will not be enough to ensure our NHS can cope with the aging population, advances in modern technology and provide the service we all want and need, so taxpayers will have to contribute a little more. In Parliament I asked the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP if he would consider a hypothecated tax i.e this is where the revenue raised is ring- fenced for a specific purpose, ensuring full transparency. This would ensure that any additional taxation in only spent on the NHS and give taxpayers confidence that this is the case. I believe this needs to be part of the plan and not the only solutions and I will continue to advocate for our NHS, which whilst we hope to never need it, is there for us all when we do.

Back in the constituency I recently had the pleasure of attending and welcoming visitors to the Hilperton Village Fete, a fantastic local event organised jointly by the Hilperton Scout Group and the Parish Council. I was delighted to get stuck in with all the fun activities and support raising money for the Scout group for their new meeting venue, something I will continue to support with any way I can. The Scout movement celebrates its centenary this year and I join in the celebrations with the local Cub group with a traditional campfire evening outside the village hall.

Village fetes really are the backbone of rural life and demonstrate the fantastic community spirit which is still very much alive in Hilperton. I have attended Hilperton Village Fete before and I applaud the fantastic work which the local Scouts and the Parish Council put in to making this bigger and better every year. In the year of the centenary of the formation of the Scout movement, it is testimony to the value of this organisation that they are still such a vital part of the local community.

I have a series of local drop-in events organised across the constituency with dates in Melksham, Monkton Farleigh, Winsley and Corsham already confirmed, so please do get in touch with me on 01249 704 465 if you would like the details of these.

I recently met with a local teenage constituent who is  suffering with ME and she detailed how her own diagnosis took a while, that current treatment options are not proving that helpful and that there is not enough support within the education system to deal with illnesses of this nature.

So in Parliament I raised these concerns that had been championed by my brave young constituent.I was delighted to bring the issues personally affecting one of my constituents to the Minister’s attention as I did the previous week in the acquired brain injuries debate for another constituent, and I will continue to fight for individuals who have come to me for support with their difficult circumstances.

Recently in Parliament I spoke in support of the new settlement for EU nationals living in the UK after we leave the European Union. I welcomed the clarity and security that the government has offered to EU citizens living in Wiltshire, which means they now have the peace of mind that they deserve. I also highlighted the importance of a reciprocal agreement by EU member states for UK nationals abroad. A number of people from Wiltshire now live in the EU and they deserve this certainty too. This assurance will not just provide certainty to EU nationals here in the constituency, but their family and friends and I would ask anyone who has concerns or would like any support in this, to get in touch with me on michelle.donelan .mp@parliament.uk.

I have just arranged the next 10 open drop-in events across the constituency, with venues in all the major towns and villages. Similar events held recently in Melksham, Chippenham, Hilperton and some other villages were very well attended and so I have increased the number, to account for the demand.

Some people come to discuss local or national issues, ask my opinion on future bills which are likely to come before Parliament or to ask for my support with a personal problem or concern. I always try to be as accessible as possible, so whatever your concern, please do come along as I would be delighted to meet you with no appointment necessary.

For full dates and times please email me on michelle.donelan.mp@parliament.com or call the office on 01249 704 465.

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