STEP by slow step, England is emerging from the pandemic lockdown restrictions.

It feels as though every incremental stage in our return to normality is taken at a glacial pace but the Prime Minister is determined that we do so in a way that ensures that we do not have to return to another phase of lockdowns and other restrictions.

He knows that every lockdown damages business, disrupts children’s education and contributes to an ever-increasing hospital waiting list.

He has to balance the needs of controlling the Covid-19 disease with so many other priorities that society has.

Next door, in Bolton, we have seen a significant rise in the transmission of the ‘Indian Variant’ mutant strain of the coronavirus.

There are many thousands of variants and every so often the media fixates on one of them.

The Brazilian and South African variants seem to have fizzled out without too much impact and it is looking increasingly likely that, after some worries, the Indian variant is going to go the same way.

There has been a slight increase in the numbers of people in the Royal Bolton Hospital, but it now looks like everything is under control.

The Government surged the testing and vaccination programmes and even deployed the army to ensure that Bolton Council had all the resources it needed.

There has been much talk of the people of Bolton rising up against the threat of another local lockdown but, by the local and national government working hand in hand with the health agencies, the situation is under control and no local lockdown is needed.

In fact, if a local lockdown had been imposed, huge numbers from Bolton would have headed to the shops and pubs in Leigh unless the police and army had of blockaded the borough.

People rightfully believe that they have played their part in this national crisis and now want to see the Government and Prime Minister leading us out of these restrictions.

We know that local lockdowns do not work which is why I supported James Grundy MP in his efforts to have the Wigan borough taken out of the one that was imposed upon Greater Manchester.

Even then, some people were heading over the border for a pint.

I am increasingly confident that Boris Johnson is focused on ensuring that the 21st June really is the day that he can set the course for recovery.

Boris’ British Bounce Back should see our recovery bloom and this will be a testament to the work of so many right across our society.

As a former engineer who worked for AstraZeneca, I know of the talent of the scientists who worked with the University of Oxford team to deliver our game changing vaccine.

The council workers, health workers, shop keepers and so many more have really made the difference in this national effort.