Weekly column 21.06.18

Since being elected I have been pushing hard for more funding for our NHS so I was delighted with the Prime Minister’s recent announcement of an additional £20 billion in real terms for our most valuable national asset by 2023/4.

This increase represents £394m per week in additional funding which is greater than the amount promised by the Leave Campaign in the 2016 referendum. It remains important however, that our NHS is efficient with every penny well spent and bureaucracy reduced, so I am delighted that this will be prioritised as part of the soon to be announced 10 year plan for the service.

Some of the extra funding will come from using the money we will no longer spend on our annual membership to the European Union. The reality though, is that this will not be enough to ensure our NHS can cope with the aging population, advances in modern technology and provide the service we all want and need, so taxpayers will have to contribute a little more. In Parliament I asked the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt MP if he would consider a hypothecated tax. This is where the revenue raised is ring-fenced for a specific purpose, ensuring full transparency. This would ensure that any additional taxation is only spent on the NHS and give taxpayers confidence that this is the case. I believe this needs to be part of the plan and not the only solution and I will continue to advocate for our NHS, which whilst we hope to never need it, is there for us all when we do.

Back in the constituency I recently had the pleasure of attending and welcoming visitors to the Hilperton Village Fete, a fantastic local event organised jointly by the Hilperton Scout Group and the Parish Council. I was delighted to get stuck in with all the fun activities and support raising money for the Scout Group for their new meeting venue, something I will continue to support with any way I can.

The Scout Movement celebrates its centenary this year and I joined in the celebrations with the local Cub group with a traditional campfire evening outside the village hall. Village fetes really are the backbone of rural life and demonstrate the fantastic community spirit which is still very much alive in Hilperton. I have attended Hilperton Village Fete before and I applaud the fantastic work which the local Scouts and the Parish Council put in to making this bigger and better every year. In the year of the centenary of the formation of the Scout Movement is it testimony to the value of this organisation that they are still such a vital part of the local community.

I have a series of local drop-in events organised across the constituency with dates in Melksham, Monkton Farleigh, Winsley and Corsham already confirmed: get in touch on 01249 704465 if you would like the details of these.