Robert's Weekly Column - 9th October 2019

Motor Neuron Disease is a dreadful illness that affects many families across the constituency and the country.  That’s why, as your local MP, I have worked closely with the North Wiltshire Group of the Motor Neurone Disease Association (MNDA). This local charity works hard to raise awareness, campaign for improved services and raise funds to support local families affected by Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

It was great fun and for a good cause that I took part in the Walk to “d’feet” MND at Coate Water on Sunday, to recognise the 40th anniversary of the great work by the MND Association. This involved completing a total of 40 laps around Coate Water to recognise 40 years of care, support and research by the MND Association and raise money in the process.

If you would like to find out more about this excellent local charity and how you can get involved, please visit

In welcome news, vulnerable children in Swindon at risk of being taken into care as a result of their parents’ problems with mental health, domestic violence or addiction will benefit from projects designed to tackle these issues early on and keep them safely together at home.

Backed by £84 million of new investment secured in the Conservative Government’s last Budget, thousands of children in Swindon will benefit from projects being launched in 15 new areas designed to tackle challenges when they arise at home, boosting family resilience and creating stable homes where children can thrive.

This funding is vital for Swindon as data shows that our town has a higher number of children in care than the national average. Accordingly, Swindon Borough Council will adopt ‘Family Safeguarding’, one of three successful projects created through the Government’s landmark Innovation Programme designed to support families to stay together wherever appropriate, so that fewer children need to be taken away from their birth families.

As my Government colleague, the Children and Families Minister Michelle Donelan MP said, “I want every child to grow up in safe, stable and loving homes where they feel supported to take on the challenges life can present”. However, here in Swindon we have unfortunately seen number of children being taken into care increase, often as a result of their parents’ mental illness, alcohol or drug addiction, or the trauma of domestic violence.

We simply cannot ignore the disruption to the lives of children that these issues cause, and that is why we are investing in projects which tackle the problems head on. The Family Safeguarding model is already proving to be successful in keeping families safely together and fiving stability for children where it did not exist.

This week, the Conservative Government, as part of the biggest investment in hospital infrastructure in a generation, launched its Health Infrastructure Plan. As part of the NHS Long Term Plan, the Government announced an additional £33.9 billion cash funding increase by 2023.24; this is the largest, longest funding settlement in the history of the NHS. This landmark settlement investment to help secure the long-term future of the NHS is extremely welcome, and it demonstrates the Government’s commitment to properly funding our NHS and public services.

In addition to this, it was announced earlier this year that the Great Western Hospital will receive an additional £30 million to deliver a reconfigured and enlarged Emergency Department and Transitional Care Facility. The new facility will ensure that patients can access the very best healthcare here in Swindon in a new, state-of-the-art, and expanded facility.



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Rt Hon Robert Buckland QC MP on the North Wiltshire MND walk 81.49 KB