Robert's Weekly Column - 29th July 2020

Parliament dissolved for summer recess last week and that means I have the opportunity to spend even more of my time here at home in Swindon, meeting with local residents and organisations, helping out with local campaigns and seeing a bit more of my family.

Throughout the summer, I will be hosting more advice surgeries, mainly virtually but also in person where safe to do so throughout the various communities of South Swindon. These surgeries are a good opportunity for residents to raise both local and national concerns directly with me. However, if there is anything that I can help with, you do not have to wait for a surgery appointment, you can email me at and my team and I can start working on it immediately.

Helping people to achieve and maintain a healthy weight is one of the most important things we can do to improve our nation’s health and that is why the Government this week has published Better Health Strategy.

Tackling obesity is one of the greatest long-term challenges this country faces. Today, around two-thirds of adults are above a healthy weight, and half of these are living with obesity. Perhaps more worryingly, we also have 1 in 3 children leaving primary school who are already overweight and 1 in 5 are living with obesity.

Our country’s rates of obesity are storing up future problems for individuals and our NHS. But there is now consistent evidence that people who are overweight or living with obesity who contract coronavirus are more likely to be admitted to hospital, to an intensive care unit and, sadly to die from coronavirus compared to those of a health body weight status.

Lots of people who are overweight or living with obesity want to lose weight but find it hard, myself included. I have manged to drag myself round the Swindon Half Marathon route four times and would consider myself, in the loosest sense of the term, a runner, but I still know how hard it can be to motivate yourself to get up and start exercising and to eat healthily.

That is why I am pleased the Government is determined to change this environment and to empower people to make the healthier choices they want to make and give the full support of the NHS to people who are overweight and who want to lose weight.

The Better Health Strategy, which can be found via the following link, is the start of this Government’s effort to shift healthcare to focus more on public health and prevention - and

It was just over a year ago that Boris Johnson stood on the steps on 10 Downing Street as Prime Minister for the first time and set out his vison for how we would unite and level up all regions of our country.

I am proud to serve in the Cabinet of this One Nation Conservative government which is making great progress on the People’s Priorities, including delivering the biggest ever cash boost for the NHS; recruiting thousands more nurses, doctors and police officers; increasing funding schools; revolutionising local transport; and giving the lowest paid a pay rise by providing the largest ever cash increase in the National Living Wage,  and giving inflation-busting pay rises to teachers, prison officers, doctors and other vital public sector workers.

I will continue to ensure that Swindon’s voice is heard loud and clear as we continue our work to level up all parts of this country and unleash Britain’s potential.