None of us wanted to see another lockdown, but it has sadly become necessary because of this Government’s failings.
A failure to listen, a failure to put in place an effective test, trace and isolate system and ultimately a failure of leadership.
Labour called for a circuit breaker three weeks ago in line with SAGE’s recommendations to bring infections down and save lives. Boris Johnson ridiculed and rejected the idea and time has now been lost. That delay will come at an economic and human cost.
I know how tough this winter lockdown will be for so many and I support it with a heavy heart. The sacrifices the people of Hornsey & Wood Green are making must not be squandered for a second time by this Government. The lockdown must be used to fix test and trace, sack failing Serco and put these crucial services back in the hands of local councils who have the expertise and knowledge.
Businesses must be provided with the financial support they need to close their doors during what is for many the busiest time of the year. There were huge holes and gaps in the Government’s support packages last time – particularly for many self-employed and freelancers – I’ll keep pushing for these gaps to be plugged this time round.
Unemployment has soared by 182% in Haringey since March with nearly half of all workers in parts of Haringey out of work. The Government must scrap the benefit cap, confirm that they won’t be cutting Universal Credit, reinstate the ban on evictions and repossessions so that no-one loses their home and fund and rapidly introduce access to training for the more than a million people who have already lost their jobs since the crisis began. Those on low pay must not be penalised financially for testing and isolating and those who are clinically vulnerable must be supported to stay at home.
It is hugely frustrating that Johnson’s dithering and delay has meant this lockdown doesn’t coincide with the school half term holiday. I support efforts to keep our schools open as I know how damaging their closure was, particularly for children from the most disadvantaged backgrounds. However, that must be accompanied by sufficient funding for schools to implement rapid Covid testing and other safety measures and the Government must reinstate – and actually deliver – the promised laptops to tackle the growing digital divide in our schools and further education colleges.
Finally, the Government must recognise the mental health impact of another lockdown, particularly in the dark winter months. Sport provides so many benefits, to physical and mental wellbeing, community cohesion as well as saving the NHS hundreds of millions of pounds each year. I’ve raised concerns about the proposed closure of sports facilities including activities such as outdoor swimming which I believe can be carried out in a Covid safe way.
I’ve received hundreds of emails in the past 48 hours and I know many of you have questions and concerns about how the lockdown will affect you. I’m here to help – contact my office and we will do everything we can to assist, or direct you to the best place for advice and support.
Details of the new national restrictions from 5 November can be found on the Government’s website here. The link to the more detailed legislation (published on 4 November) can be found here.
Haringey Council’s Covid-19 Business Support
Local traders in Muswell Hill still operating or delivering during the lockdown.