I SPENT the bank holiday weekend, not enjoying the Salisbury sunshine, but in airports and on planes, flying to Portugal and back in 36 hours in order to deputise for the Chancellor at an international economic forum.

This week in Parliament has also seen two topics that regularly crop up in constituency casework come to the fore in my ministerial box.

On Tuesday, I appeared before the Treasury Select Committee, which is looking into domestic finances and debt – problems which underlie and exacerbate so many of the challenges faced by vulnerable households.

On Thursday, I will respond to a backbench business debate on achieving timely and appropriate redress for victims of banking misconduct – an issue with which I am familiar, as it is a regular feature of my weekly advice surgeries, cropping up as recently as last Friday.

It is always a pleasure to share ideas about how Salisbury can maximise its potential as a location for business and tourism but also offer the best possible environment for its residents.

I enjoyed an engaging roundtable discussion on Friday with a group of business leaders who are seeking to grapple with the big local issues – from transport to the environment and from the city’s retail offer to the effective operation of local democracy.

I have suggested they take their wide ranging analysis of where we are now and whittle it down into a wish list of achievable targets.

I am all for harnessing the passion and energy we have in the city but, in my experience, the best way to bring about real change is to bring our top priorities into sharp focus – and then keep working on it and never give up until you succeed!

Also in the past week, I was delighted to hear that the efforts of the organisers of the Figsbury Challenge to reduce the environmental impact of the run by switching to compostable catering supplies had resulted in a 90 per cent reduction in the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Congratulations to all involved and, if any other upcoming events would like to consider following in Figsbury’s footsteps, I am more than happy to supply contact details!