While the introduction of local restrictions where it's needed to curb the spread of Covid-19 should be supported, these restrictions must be evidence-based and the rationale must be clear to local people for them to be truly effective.
However, new analysis this week reveals that 19 out of the 20 areas in England that have been under local restrictions for at least two months have actually seen an increase in infection rates.
Clearly Boris Johnson’s ‘whack-a-mole’ strategy isn't working. That's why, with the test and trace system in chaos and the Prime Minister unable to explain his own guidelines, Labour is demanding that the government does more to get infection rates down and help millions of families out of lockdown.
Seventeen million people are currently living under local restrictions – and analysis from Labour shows 440,000 people still on furlough are now living under localised restrictions and another 430,000 are living in towns or cities on the national watch list, like here in Birmingham.
But there is an inconsistency in the support given to those areas that have been placed under localised restrictions. For instance, £3m in support has been offered to Leicester and Oadby and Wigston, equal to £7.30 per person, while the £7m for Liverpool city-region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough equates to just £3.49 per person.
The West Midlands on the other hand has not received a single penny in funding from the government related to local restrictions to date!
Jack Dromey MP and I have written to the University of Birmingham's Vice-Chancellor, David Eastwood, with our concerns about the proposed potential job losses at the University-owned Edgbaston Park Hotel.
We are calling for an immediate extension of the consultation period for affected staff, the commencement of negotiations between the business, workers and unions, and also ask that the University considers any additional direct support it could provide to help the business through these very difficult times.
You can read the letter in full by clicking the button below.
Have your say on Birmingham's Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan
The effects of the Covid-19 outbreak and the ensuing lockdown have been widespread across our communities and the local economy; impacting on the wellbeing of all our citizens. The City Council has led on the public health response locally and has already done a great deal to help businesses weather the storm.
Birmingham City Council is putting in place their plans for the longer term recovery of the local economy and you can help feed into these plans by having your say on the Council's Covid-19 Economic Recovery Plan which is now open for consultation.
The consultation runs until Monday 16th November 2020 at 5pm, and the consultation document is available to view and comment on by clicking the button below.
Earlier this week, I wrote to the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, in response to his Winter Economy Plan on behalf of thousands of my constituents who work in sectors that cannot reopen and whose jobs will not survive the winter.
Within the past few hours, however, the Chancellor has announced a last minute u-turn on support for businesses forced to close because of local or national lockdowns.
While we are glad that the Chancellor has finally listened to what Labour has long been calling for, this announcement will unfortunately come too late for many who have already lost their jobs.
Of course, these economic interventions would not be necessary if the government had this virus under control.
The United Kingdom has the worst excess death rate in Europe and we are on course for the worst recession in Europe.
The Conservatives’ incompetence has hampered Britain’s response to this pandemic as we enter a difficult winter.