There has been much talk of inflation coming down, as if this will reduce the cost of energy and food - but it won’t.

Inflation, like acceleration, just measures the RATE of increase, so lower inflation just means a slightly slower increase, not that prices will fall.

Indeed, the latest figures from the British Retail Consortium put food inflation at 15.4 per cent, which is only marginally down from April’s record 15.7 per cent, meaning many households are struggling to afford even basic food items.

This situation has been exacerbated for those on lower incomes by the cost of budget ranges and supermarket own label products increasing by significantly more than premium and branded labels, in some cases by more than 40 per cent.

With more and more people switching to own-label goods, it seems some supermarkets may be capitalising on the situation by excessively increasing prices, something the Bank of England has termed “greedflation”.

The UK Government is apparently considering placing a price cap on basic food items but, while this may help consumers in the short-term, it doesn’t help producers with the soaring costs of production and runs the risk of more farmers leaving the sector.

The UK Government should recognise livestock farming as an ‘energy intensive’ industry and include it in the appropriate energy support scheme.

With the flooding of prime farmland, due to the Russian bombing of the Kakhovka Dam in southern Ukraine, the supply of key commodities will once again be hit; highlighting that the focus must be on improving food security by supporting domestic production.

Brexit has impacted our food industry massively, from labour shortages disrupting seasonal harvesting and production, increased export bureaucracy and a rise in the cost of imports.

The UK Government seems incapable of changing course while the Labour Party’s claims they will ‘make Brexit work’ shows a terrible lack of insight - just when a majority in the UK have come to recognise that it is a disaster!

Locally, I was pleased to make a return visit to the UPM Caledonian Papermill.

As well as a tour of the vast machine hall, it was interesting to hear about recent developments at the plant and, with less paper being used nowadays, the company’s progress on product diversification.

As an energy intensive industry, the current climate is challenging, so it was good to hear about the energy efficiency projects they have been working on in recent years.

I was also delighted to hear that Irvine Beach has been named amongst Scotland’s best for the second successive year.

The classification from environmental charity ‘Keep Scotland Beautiful’, recognises beach safety, access and facilities, and cleanliness.

It is a timely endorsement, with the summer holidays fast approaching, and an acknowledgement of the hard work undertaken by the Streetscene team and Irvine Clean Up Crew, who help keep the beach area clear of litter, as well as the work of Irvine Coastwatch who maintain the services block and provide safety advice and First Aid.

We are fortunate in Central Ayrshire to have such dedicated teams of volunteers looking after our beaches and, with Prestwick, Troon and Barassie also recognised in this year’s Scotland’s Beach Awards, we can all be proud of the ‘Ayrshire Riviera’.

With the lovely weather this past week, it’s been great to see so many families making the most of the sunshine and our beautiful beaches, and I too have enjoyed getting back in the water each weekend when I get back from London.

If we all follow Scottish Water’s advice on what NOT to flush down our toilets, and only leave our footprints behind at the beach, then our beaches will remain beautiful for everyone to enjoy.