Deja vu all over again!!

January 5, 2021 4:59 PM
Originally published by Babergh South Suffolk Liberal Democrats

y7a. (Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash)Well we reached the inevitable end point of another national lockdown with the usual dither and delay beforehand.

In the morning we were told schools were re-opening as they were perfectly safe. By the evening they had become a vector of transmitting the diseases. It is inexcusable that schools were pressured to open despite guidance to the contrary from SAGE the scientific committee advising the government on 22nd December. Coming after secondary schools were told on Christmas Eve to prepare for mass testing with no time or resource to deliver the governments actions smacks of indecision and neglect. We have covered before the fact schools had their allocations of computers cut so home study was made more difficult. Surely the time over the past few weeks would have been better spent putting in place home learning capabilities accessible by all

The Prime Minister put the blame of the latest decision on the new more virulent version of the virus even though Matt Hancock announced this a week before Christmas and new cases have been running over 50000 for the past week. With opinion polls suggesting over 70% of Britons favour lock-down it is hard to fathom why the government were behind the curve yet again in announcing tighter restrictions

By now you would have thought lessons would have been learnt about the need for fast decisive action to control the viruses spread. Contrast the government with Scotland where cases numbers are much lower per head but increasing. They announced a lock-down earlier in the day to try to stop the cases getting out of control

With a vaccine on the horizon how many more people will now catch the virus when swift action would have been prevented?

The Prime Minister's address was indeed very sombre last night. However he still couldn't resist adding his usual big promise. This time it was that by mid February 13.5m of us would have received our first jab giving a strong degree of immunity. This technique of plucking a big headline grabbing target from the air which subsequently is missed by some way (think world class test and trace, 300000 tests per day or a tracking app by June as examples). We hope that this promise actually gets achieved despite scepticism from some medics. Lives literally depend upon it

Liberal Democrat leader Ed Davey commented after the announcement :

Sir Ed Davey (UK Lib Dems)

Sir Ed Davey

This is the public health policy the Prime Minister should have announced before Christmas, but yet again, Boris Johnson ducked the difficult decisions, failed to listen to experts and acted too late.

Just yesterday morning Johnson was telling parents that schools were safe and children should definitely go. Today he is telling us that they must all move to remote learning but without any proper future plan.

The Prime Minister's failure to act earlier means we are seeing record numbers of new infections, a rising death rate, hospitals overwhelmed and NHS and care staff exhausted.

With this new lockdown, Liberal Democrats believe it's urgent that the Government announce a new comprehensive economic plan for businesses and the self-employed; a plan to increase Carer's allowance in line with the increases in Universal Credit and must fully take account of the impact of these developments on the mental health of young people and vulnerable individuals who are going through an incredibly difficult time.

All around the world, the evidence is that acting early is critical to minimising damage to the economy and protecting public health. We need a Prime Minister who can act in time, not one who acts when it is too late.