As part of my ongoing work to close the employment gap for autistic people and those with other neurodivergent needs, I met with Dan Harris from the Charity Neurodiversity in Business in Westminster last week, and I was very impressed with the amazing progress this charitable organisation is making.

It has been set up to improve the life chances of neurodivergent employees. The charity is successfully bringing businesses together, to collaborate and fully focus on the topic of neurodiversity, for their benefit, for the benefit of employees, and also for the benefit of society as a whole.

During my time as an MP, I have campaigned hard for the rights of those with autism and other neurodivergent individuals, so it was great to meet Dan to further discuss the charity’s work.

With only two out of ten adults with autism in employment, that is a shocking gap that we need to fill, and that is why I am urging all businesses to join Neurodiversity in Business.

It is a great network that shares best practice and enables businesses to recruit and retain people with those incredible neurodiverse skills and conditions that I believe will make our employment market an even richer and better one.

If you run a local business and would like to join the Neurodiversity in Business Forum, or you would like to out more about the charity, please visit

In the Autumn Statement Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt announced the schools’ budget would be increased by £2bn this year, and £2bn next year, to help schools with rising costs as a result of inflation.

As one of several MPs who wrote a joint letter to the Chancellor ahead of the statement, urging him not to cut education spending, despite the need for fiscal responsibility, I welcomed this news.

I regularly visit schools here, so I am aware of the difficult challenges that head teachers are facing, particularly following the impact of the pandemic.

I am pleased that the Chancellor has listened and has agreed to increase schools funding.

There was good news from transport minister Huw Merriman last week, as he approved a new transport link between Swindon and the Midlands. The A417 Missing Link Scheme will help to improve Swindon’s connectivity with the Midlands and boost the regional South West economy.

This decision means that much-needed action will now be taken to improve this stretch of road to make it safer, reduce traffic congestion, and help to support growth across the region.

Finally, my local Charity of the Week is Phoenix Enterprises who are celebrating their 20th Anniversary.

Phoenix Enterprises is both a charity and a social enterprise. Each year, this excellent local charity supports 80 adults with mental health issues, learning difficulties, and physical disabilities.

The social enterprise is a supportive and caring community where people work in a structured production environment doing packaging and hand assembly jobs for other businesses. This work experience helps those with less severe issues get into paid work. For more profound challenges, Phoenix provides a safe place to go each day, building a sense of self-worth.

There are many ways that you can support Phoenix Enterprises, including volunteering, donating, fundraising, or by becoming a customer. For further information about this wonderful local charity, please visit or ring 01793 542321 or 01793 939021