Robert's Weekly Swindon Adver Article - 25th October 2017

In the years since 2010, Justin Tomlinson and I have worked successfully to secure over £160m extra funding for Swindon’s roads so it was great to hear last week that as part of a national £244m initiative. Swindon will recieve a further £4m to improve roundabouts on Mead Way to help the flow of traffic along this vital artery for local residents and businesses. This is another step forward for our local infrastructure. I will continue to work to secure more funds for other projects in our local area.

According to official statistics, one in every 131 people suffer from epilepsy, so for a town like Swindon, this means there around 1,200 sufferers. Epilepsy touches many families, including mine, so I was pleased to support two epilepsy related events in Parliament last week.

On Tuesday, I went to an event hosted by charity SUDEP Action (Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy). The charity has won national and international honours for their achievements and plays a crucial role in preventing deaths, providing information, offering support when somebody has died, sponsoring research and capturing data across the UK & internationally through the Epilepsy Deaths Register.

The event brought together a dedicated group of SUDEP Action supporters, clinicians, and MPs to highlight the challenges faced by the charity. I will continue to do all that I can to help drive this issue forward, and deal with some of the barriers faced in getting information to people with epilepsy, their families, and clinicians.

In Swindon, we are fortunate to have Swindon Epilepsy Support Group. Run in partnership with the Rotary Club of Swindon Phoenix, the group aims to bring together those who are newly diagnosed with epilepsy and those who have lived with epilepsy for many years, as well as raising awareness of the condition in the local community. Further information about the group can be found by visiting http://www.swindonepilepsy.org.uk/

In a related development, the Government has announced this month that employed parents who suffer the loss of a child under the age of 18 will have the legal right to ‘two weeks’ paid leave.

The Parental Bereavement (Pay and Leave) Bill, debated last week, will give a day-one right to parental bereavement leave and employees with a minimum of 26 weeks’ continuous service will be eligible for statutory parental bereavement pay.

I warmly welcome this new law giving paid leave to bereaved parents. Losing a child is one of the most devastating experiences that a parent can go through and it is vitally important that they are supported by their employer.

The 31st Swindon Beer Festival will be held this week at the STEAM Museum. Swindon is fortunate to have this excellent event featuring a wide selection of beers, ciders and perries. Last year, Swindon’s Circle Cider won the Best Cider award, best of luck to all our local producers and breweries in this year’s competition.

I continue to hold regular surgeries for constituency residents. If you need to see me about anything, please email me on robert.buckland.mp@parliament.uk, phone my office on 01793 533393 or write to me at 29b Wood Street, SN1 4AN.