Local lockdowns must be efficient enough, says Labour

Labour has called on the government to take urgent action to ensure local lockdowns are robust and efficient enough to prevent a second wave of coronavirus spreading across the country.

Steve Reed, the party’s Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary, has urged the government to take four steps to protect communities: ensure that Local Authority Directors of Public Health have access to all coronavirus test data, including the postcodes of all positive tests; provide guidance on exactly what legal powers are available to local authorities to rapidly put in place local lockdowns by closing schools, workplaces or neighbourhoods; clarify where decision making for local lockdowns will be taken, which decisions will be made by the government, Joint Biosecurity Centre or left for local authorities to take; and keep the promise to fund councils in full for the cost of the crisis, so that they don’t have to cut the resources they need to keep our communities safe.

Reed said: “The government made local lockdowns a key component of the exit strategy but yet again they were too slow to involve local authorities, just like they were too slow to enforce the lockdown nationally. The lack of a functioning test, track and trace system, coupled with their failure to give councils the power to take action quickly could lead to local outbreaks becoming deadly national ones. The government must not waste any more time, we are facing the risk of a deadly second wave of infections and a second national lockdown fatal for both lives and livelihoods across the country.”