This week’s news about the future of Carillion, which amongst other things runs the main service contract at Great Western Hospital, meant that I contacted GWH’s Chief Executive and received assurances about the position of Carillion staff at the hospital, who will continue to be paid for the vital work they do.

I note that GWH have made contingency plans for this, which is very welcome. Despite the uncertainty, Serco agreed to take over Carillion’s contract last month. I am seeking further information as to how the handover is to be managed in light of these new developments. I am also keen to make sure that local suppliers are paid for their work too, and have asked GWH to help ensure that this is the case.

Last Friday evening, I visited the new Swindon Borough Council Homeless Scheme located in the former Carfax Street NHS Medical Centre. The scheme, which is backed by Swindon charities including Threshold Housing Link, the Big Breakfast and Swindon Foodbank, is aimed at reaching some of Swindon’s hardest to reach homeless who will be given a bed, training and council accommodation at the end of the 12-week project. I was glad to have the opportunity to see the project at first hand, talk to the organisers and volunteers and to meet some of the first residents to move in.

Last month, the Government set out details of a new Rough Sleeping Advisory Panel that will help develop a national strategy as part of our commitment to halve rough sleeping by 2022 and eliminate it altogether by 2027.

This latest action builds on the work government is already doing including spending over £1 billion until 2020 to tackle this issue. I was very pleased when the Communities Department awarded Swindon Council a total of £3.4m in Flexible Homelessness Support Grant for this year and next year, after representations that Justin Tomlinson and I helped to make. Support services, such as the new Carfax Homelessness Scheme, are crucial to help rough sleepers with their issues and into settled accommodation so that this isn’t merely a short term sticking plaster.

I have long been concerned about the amount of unnecessary plastic packaging we encounter and which we grapple with as we sort out our recycling waste, so the Conservative Government’s new 25-year Environment Plan, pledging to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste, comes as welcome news.

In the UK alone, the amount of single-use plastic wasted every year would fill 1,000 Royal Albert Halls. This plastic causes immense suffering to animals and degrades vital habitats. I am glad that action is being taken to end this and leave our planet in a better state for the next generation, with cleaner air, stronger protections for animal welfare and greener spaces.

Fly-tipping is a problem which residents frequently contact me about, so I am pleased that new measures have been announced to tackle the issue. The government has launched a consultation on fighting fly-tipping, which reached an eight-year high last year with more than a million incidents in England. Two-thirds of these involved household waste. Under the new plans, households could be fined up to £400 if they pay an unauthorised man in a van to take away rubbish. The government will also tell local authorities to stop charging people to dispose of DIY waste at council tips.

Last week, hidden charges when paying with your credit or debit card were banned. So-called ‘surcharging’ has become commonplace, particularly online, with many retailers hitting people with surprise charges just before they are about to make a purchase. Some retailers have been known to add charges which are far higher than it costs them to process a payment. It is estimated that surcharging cost Brits £166 million in 2015.

I am glad that the Conservative Government has taken steps to ban this practice, meaning that it’s now unlawful for retailers to charge additional fees when someone uses a particular credit or debit card, or other payment systems like PayPal, to make a purchase. This will ensure consumers can be confident that there won’t be any nasty surprises, and they won’t be penalised for wanting to pay in a particular way.