Robert's Weekly Swindon Advertiser Article - 22nd February 2017

One of the greatest challenges facing all of us in Swindon is the need to change the way in which our town is perceived in the media and elsewhere.  Far too often, we are referred to in less than complimentary terms, usually by people who have never been here.  This has to change, which in is why I am supporting a new campaign that highlights our strength as a great place in which to live, work, invest in and visit.  The campaign, which is supported by local business leaders and community groups, is called ‘Switch on to Swindon’.  It will emphasise our town’s successful history and raise awareness of its potential to ensure that it prospers and continues to grow.

Please take a look at the campaign, help spread the word, and sign up for regular updates here: http://switchontoswindon.com/
 
By helping to change people’s view of Swindon by boosting our town’s image, the ‘Switch on to Swindon’ campaign will help with recruitment for important roles like GPs. Back in August, I worked with North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson to help to secure funding for a promotional campaign aimed to attract more GPs to the town.
 
I continue to be in regular contact with GP surgeries and patients, and I have supported moves to help local surgeries work together. During a meeting I hosted with local GPs last Wednesday, it was clear that attracting GPs to come and work here in Swindon remains one of the key challenges facing local practices, and so I am very supportive of this new initiative.

I recently mentioned in this column the latest report by the Centre for Cities, which shows that Swindon remains one of the best places to live and work in the country. In recent years, I have described Swindon previously as being a town "on the up", and the figures shown in this report further reinforce the strength of Swindon’s economic story.  Our town has huge potential in terms of future growth and delivers higher productivity levels than cities much larger in size and performs strongly on a range of economic indicators, including productivity and share of knowledge-based jobs, which points to a bright future for us.

An issue that is often raised with me by residents and which I experience myself in Swindon is traffic congestion.  It is important that our town works as smoothly as possible; reducing traffic jams is good for our image and reputation. It was announced this week that the Department for Transport has awarded £4 million to nineteen local authorities across the country for tech which gives motorists advance notice of congestion and free parking spaces.
 
The Government money will be spent on developing cutting edge technology such as apps and sensors which can be used to cut congestion, improve parking in city centres and alert drivers when electric car charging points become available.

Swindon Borough Council was announced as one of the winners, and will receive £235,000 to for an alert system for local authority traffic managers to better disseminate congestion information. I expect SBC to release further information about this exciting news soon.
 
As ever, please do not hesitate to contact me if you have a local or national issues that you would like to discuss. You can call 01793 533393 or email me at robert.buckland.mp@parliament.uk