On Friday I joined a council officer and Lourenco Fernandes, the newly elected borough councillor for Central, on a walk around his ward to meet with residents to discuss their concerns and the issues impacting the local area.

A theme that was repeatedly brought up was that of anti-social behaviour, including fly tipping and street drinking. It is encouraging that 23 fixed penalty notices were issued for fly tipping in April and May alone, and they have recruited three additional envirocrime officers to investigate issues like this, but we all know that more can be done. That is why I will continue to work with the local Probate Service and hardworking councillors like Lourenco.

The sooner the council knows about an incident of fly tipping, the sooner they can clear it and make our streets cleaner. So we can all do our bit by reporting incidents to the council, either by phoning 01793 445500, emailing customerservices@swindon.gov.uk, or online via: https://www.swindon.gov.uk/info/20023/environmental_problems.

Please do not assume that somebody else has or will report it, or that the council is already aware. If you see it, please report it.

The Prime Minister announced on Monday that step four of the Government’s roadmap will be delayed by up to four weeks and the vaccination programme accelerated to respond to the rapid spread of the Delta variant. Data suggests that the variant is between 40 per cent and 80 per cent more transmissible than the Alpha variant and is rapidly driving up case numbers. Our successful vaccination programme is weakening the link between cases and hospitalisations, but the latest evidence shows that two doses are needed to provide effective protection against the Delta variant.

The latest Public Health England data suggests that Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine is 96% effective against hospitalisation after two doses and 92% for the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

By July 19 all adults will have been offered a first dose and around two thirds of all adults will have been offered two doses of the vaccine. That is why it is sensible to ease off the accelerator and delay moving to the next step of our roadmap by up to four weeks.

As the Prime Minister said, by this time we will be far stronger position to keep hospitalisation down, to live with this disease and to complete our cautious but irreversible roadmap to freedom.

Victims of domestic abuse here in Wiltshire and Swindon will benefit from £367,524-worth of funding to hire six independent domestic violence advisor roles. This funding comes from the Ministry of Justice, the government department I lead as Lord Chancellor, and follows a successful bid from the local Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner. It will help alleviate some of the additional pressures put on these support services during the pandemic and ensure that victims and survivors are able to access the help and support they need.

I was sorry to hear on Monday about the vandalism at the Swindon Domestic Abuse Support Service charity shop in the town centre. This local charity provides vital support to many vulnerable people across Swindon and I am really pleased that Councillor Tim Swinyard and community volunteer Alistair Flockhart stepped up and cleaned off the graffiti the same evening.