Work to extend the dual carriageway on the A350 north of Chippenham from Jackson’s Lane to the Badger roundabout is now well underway.
On Friday, I visited the site with an officer from Wiltshire Council to see the progress Balfour Beatty are making. These improvements are being funded by the Local Pinch Point Fund, set up by the Liberal Democrats in Government.
Last month, we heard the welcome news that the dual carriageway will be extended even further – to the junction with the A4 – as part of the Local Growth Deal for our area announced by the Lib Dem Businesses Secretary, Vince Cable.
The Coalition is also making the biggest investment in our railways since Victorian times, including the electrification of the Great Western Mainline. At Corsham Town Hall, I quizzed representatives of Network Rail about their plans for the town while the improvements take place. I set out the opportunity for them to survey the site of any subsequently re-opened Corsham station during the period the railway is closed.
With those suffering with poor mental health featuring prominently in the news lately, I’m conscious of how consistently it affects those constituents who come to me in the greatest difficulty.
Last week, I met the Chief Executive and Medical Director of Avon and Wiltshire NHS Mental Health Partnership (AWP) to discuss the need for their services in our area. I also spoke with local GPs, who reported a welcome improvement in access to initial psychiatric assessments for their patients.
However, I also know from my casework that, whether facing eating disorders or depression, there are still lots of people who struggle to get help or lasting treatment.
For far too long, mental health has been shrouded in stigma, and access to treatment has lagged a long way behind that for physical illness. In Coalition Government, the Liberal Democrats have placed a legal duty on the NHS to give mental health parity of esteem with physical health and are investing more than £450 million to give people access to evidence-based psychological therapies.
If you think someone you know is having a tough time, you could talk to them, but listen too. It might make a big difference. For information about mental health and support visit www.nhs.uk/ livewell/mentalhealth.
My next constituency surgery will be at Bradford on Avon Library on Friday from 9.30-11am.