From Michelle Donelan <[email protected]>
Subject My Latest Newsletter
Date November 26, 2022 2:27 PM
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Details on how to attend tonight's virtual crime forums and my other recent work for our area |

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Welcome to my latest newsletter, I hope you are well. As ever, if there is anything I can do to help, or if you would like to speak to me at one of my upcoming surgeries, please do let me know.

** Melksham and Corsham Crime Forums - Tonight!

Here are the meeting details for tonight's virtual crime forums and how to join:

Melksham and the surrounding villages, 5pm:

Meeting ID: 328 042 504 386

Passcode: ranwjG

Corsham and the surrounding villages, 7pm

Meeting ID: 339 505 270 229

Passcode: cTaEFy

You can use these details to join the forums via Microsoft Teams on your phone or computer. If you would prefer a link to join please do not hesitate to email me and I will send one over.

The forums are a useful opportunity for you to raise concerns and ask any questions you may have about crime in your area directly with Philip Wilkinson, our local Police and Crime Commissioner, the local inspector for each area and myself. The first one covering Chippenham was really useful so please do come along - a date for Bradford-on-Avon will follow in the New Year.

** Triple Lock and Support for Pensioners

Following concerns that the triple lock may not be retained, I raised this issue directly and was assured this was just media speculation. As you know last week in the Autumn Statement, the Chancellor confirmed that the Triple Lock will remain in place.

I understand that many pensioners in our country struggle with the challenges of meeting day-to-day expenses, and so I know just how important the Triple Lock is. For me, providing dignity in old age through a well-funded state pension is the most important function of the welfare state. As you will know, many pensioners are not wealthy, and we need greater support for retired people who struggle.

As your MP I have, and will continue to, campaign for support for retired people.

Locally, I know there are a significant number of organisations aimed at supporting people as they reach and throughout retirement, and I have organised a series of Over 60’s Information and Advice Fairs. The last fair was held in Corsham at the Springfield Campus. The reason I organise these events is to help raise awareness of all the amazing work local and national organisations in our area and what’s available for over 60's to get involved with - as far too many people are not aware of the benefits available to them.

If you think you may be eligible for additional support and would like some assistance with applying, please do not hesitate to let me know.

** Autumn Statement

Elsewhere in the Autumn Statement, we set out our plans to tackle the challenges we are facing with inflation and our economy, whilst protecting and maintaining public spending, and supporting the most vulnerable in our society. I've been listening to many of your thoughts over the last few weeks and have been sharing these with the Prime Minister and Chancellor at Cabinet.

Our Autumn Statement included:

📚 £4 billion in additional funding for schools over the next two years

🏥 £7.7 billion in additional funding for health and social care in the next two years - including a long term workforce plan

💡 Extending the Energy Price Guarantee until April 2024

🏡 Supporting the most vulnerable in our society by uprating benefits in line with inflation

📈 Introducing the largest ever National Living Wage increase, a pay rise of £1,600 on average for millions of workers

➡️ Extending windfall taxes on surplus energy profits to raise a total of £52 billion over the next six years

💷 Making further cost of living payments to millions of vulnerable families

The problems we are experiencing are being felt right around the world as a result of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine, and there are no easy solutions.

We are making the difficult decisions to get us through these challenges, but are absolutely clear that our public services should have the funding they need, and the most vulnerable in our society should have the support they need.

If you are having any difficulties with receiving the energy bill support which is in place, or have any questions about which additional support you may be eligible for, please do not hesitate to get in touch.

** Small Business Saturday - Nominate Your Favourite Local Business!

I'm looking for you to nominate your favourite small, local or independent business from our community to mark Small Business Saturday on 3rd December.

Your nomination can be anywhere in the constituency - Bradford on Avon, Melksham, Corsham, Chippenham or the villages, and it could be any business in our community - from a shop, to a service, to a pub or restaurant.

Whether they provide your favourite products or services, or just go that extra mile for their customers, this is a fantastic opportunity to recognise their hard work! We are lucky to have such a range of local small businesses, so this is all about celebrating them and their work, and I'm always keen to help however I can.

You can nominate your small business by emailing me at [email protected], and the deadline for nominations is this Monday 28th November.

Your nominations will be shortlisted for everyone to vote on a winner, who will then be crowned Chippenham Constituency Business of the Year 2022 and be invited to Parliament for afternoon tea!

** Local Fuel Prices

Last Friday I met the Director of Fuel at Sainsbury’s to discuss the significant level of frustration in the community that fuel remains 10p a litre cheaper in Melksham than in Chippenham, meaning many local people are having to drive to Melksham to fill up.

Sainsbury’s explained how they calculate their prices - essentially using a local radius based on the prices of their competitors. I am concerned that this data may not accurately reflect what’s actually happening with prices in each town.

Sainsbury’s are going to look into the data they use to calculate their competitiveness and get back to me with more information. What I made clear, however, is that the solution is certainly not raising prices in Melksham.

In the meantime, I will write to the Minister regarding the Competition and Market Authority’s (CMA) suggestion of an open data scheme - this would make the info around fuel prices much more open and transparent, with the aim of helping drivers get a fairer deal.

The CMA are also due to report back on this with a full review before Christmas, so I will write to them again to feed the latest local info in - you are also welcome to add evidence: [email protected]. In the meantime, please do keep me updated on what you are seeing with local fuel prices.

** Other Recent Work

Just some of my other recent work over the last few weeks includes:

- Marked UK Parliament Week with a visit to 1st Chippenham Cubs and some Beavers who came along too - it was great to speak to them all about my role as their local MP, as well as how Parliament and democracy works. Their questions were very impressive and wide ranging!

- Visited Pound Arts in Corsham to discuss some of the challenges they have faced and what exciting work they have coming up, following the fantastic news that they, along with Wiltshire Music Centre, have been awarded more than £500,000 of investment by Arts Council England.

- Attended the opening of Dick Lovett’s brand new site near Melksham on the A350. A huge congratulations to the whole team - the new, state of the art showroom and workshop looks absolutely fantastic, replacing an existing site for them in Bath. It’s brilliant to see Melksham as their site of choice for this investment, creating 120 jobs between their two sites and strengthening our area’s reputation as a real hub for enterprise!

- Discussed the challenges facing the dental industry and the impact on patients with Dental Care in Bradford-on-Avon. We know that access to treatment in our region has been particularly affected by the pandemic, and so I’m continuing to make sure that Wiltshire gets its fair share of the £4.5 million of Government investment allocated to improving access in the South West. I’m also due to meet the Health Minister who looks after dentistry, so I will be feeding your concerns and the solutions raised by the Dental Care team back to him directly.

- Returned to Coombe Castle in Melksham to tour the site and discuss how much the business has grown since I was last there. Over a 1/3 of their exports go to Canada and I am going to raise some of the challenges and opportunities they face with the International Trade Secretary.

Thank you for taking the time to read my newsletter, as ever if there is anything I can do to help, or if you would like to speak to me at one of my upcoming surgeries, please do not hesitate to let me know,

Best wishes,

Michelle Donelan
Member of Parliament for Chippenham Constituency
Email: michelle.don[email protected] (mailto:[email protected])
Telephone: 01249 704465
Write: Michelle Donelan MP, 61 New Road, Chippenham, SN15 1ES.

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