The Prime Minister announced new restrictions to take effect in England, subject to a vote in Parliament, on Thursday 5 November.
The new restrictions will be intended to end on Thursday 2 December, with England then returning to a tiered system of local restrictions driven by latest data at the end of that period.
What this means
In terms of those with an economic impact, the restrictions included:
- Nonessential retail, hospitality and leisure must close.
- Pubs, bars and restaurants must close except for takeaway and delivery.
- The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS – the furlough scheme) is extended until the start of December, with the government paying 80% of workers’ wages, but requiring employers to contribute employer NICs and pension contributions, as with the first tapering back of the scheme which took place in August.
- Workplaces in construction and manufacturing will be encouraged to remain open but in general people are asked to work from home when they can.
- Childcare, early years settings, schools, colleges, and universities will all remain open.
- No mixing of people inside homes, except for childcare and other forms of support.
- Single adult household bubble arrangements will remain in place.
I’m distressed at the impact this lockdown is inevitably going to have and I deeply regret that the government wasted the summer when they should and could have been preparing for the factors in the Autumn which have now led to this lockdown becoming necessary.
These were factors that were both predictable and predicted, by the government’s own scientific advisors. Labour has strongly supported government advisors and independent scientific advisory groups when they called on the government to reform the test, track and isolate system so that it works efficiently and quickly. This means putting the system in the hands of local public health and councils, who know their areas well, rather than an inefficient set of private contractors. We called for a circuit breaker lockdown to run over two weeks over the school half-term in order to give time for this to happen with minimum disruption to children’s education.
Unfortunately, the government did not heed the warnings and now we are faced with rocketing rates of infection, rising hospitalisation and tragic increases in deaths. This means that the full lockdown is necessary.
Government action too slow and indecisive
Government has waited until the last possible minute to act, meaning a huge amount of anxiety for people across the country. In many cases, jobs have been needlessly lost. The Tories are tanking the economy because they don’t listen to the science and they won’t listen to Labour. Valuable time has been lost when Labour’s call for an earlier circuit breaker would ultimately have benefitted the economy.
Just last week, the government said that workers in Manchester should only get 67% of their pre-crisis income. They said 80% was impossible. Now, when restrictions have to be introduced in the south, they’ve changed their mind.
Meanwhile, we’ve said consistently that it’s not fair or reasonable to expect people to isolate or quarantine if they do not have adequate financial support. The government still hasn’t made any of the changes to social security that Labour has been calling for, and which would help more than a million people who have lost their jobs since the crisis began.
From the start we identified that there were huge holes in the Government’s support packages in the first lockdown, particularly for many self-employed people. Sadly, the Government has not learned from these mistakes and plugged the gaps this time around.
Support for the people of Bristol West
My caseworkers and staff team and I are all here for you – working remotely we have helped thousands of people across the constituency throughout the crisis to get the advice and help they need.
You can contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org or if necessary by phone on 0117 379 0980.
The Council and national government websites also have useful information on support packages: