My five-point plan for South Swindon

This will be my final column for the Adver before the start of ‘purdah’ – the period before an election when there are legal restrictions on what can be published.  I have always been careful not to use this weekly article to indulge in Punch & Judy politics.

The final Budget

This afternoon George Osborne will announce the final Budget before the general election. The Chancellor will set out his plans for tax and spending, and a whole raft of measures that will have a direct effect on all of us. 

New schools in Swindon

Swindon made national news on Monday when the government announced that bids for two new secondary schools here had been successful.  We’re the only town to achieve that distinction in this latest round of the free schools programme. 

Swindon’s Economy

There are many ways of judging the performance of Swindon’s economy.  The obvious criteria – things like employment statistics and retail figures – are all looking positive, and have been for some time. 

British Lung Foundation

Swindon MP’s Justin Tomlinson & Robert Buckland joined patients, carers and MPs from across the political parties in Parliament yesterday, Wednesday 25 February, for the launch of the British Lung Foundation’s (BLF) idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) patient experience report.

Pensioner benefits

This week we have had an important and very welcome announcement about so-called ‘pensioner benefits’. David Cameron confirmed that as long as he is Prime Minister, the free bus pass, TV licence and winter fuel payment will all be protected. 

Swindon Advice and Support Centre

We have some excellent voluntary and charity organisations in Swindon, offering help, advice and support across a wide range of issues.  However, accessing all their valuable services hasn’t always been straightforward, especially for people without the internet. 


I was delighted with the Chancellor’s announcement that the government is extending the hugely popular pensioner bonds scheme for a further three months.  It’s estimated this will allow over a million over-65s to benefit from market-leading savings rates.

Thamesdown Drive extension

One of the most important projects I’m working on is the bid to make the long-overdue Thamesdown Drive extension a reality.  If we can push the road through to Great Western Way – as was originally proposed decades ago – it will make a huge difference throughout Swindon.