Yorkshire councils lay out lockdown ‘action plan'

Seven Yorkshire councils have made a series of demands of the government, detailing how to tackle local coronavirus outbreaks and responsibly get out of local lockdown.

The local authorities working together have all featured on the national Covid 'watchlist' in recent weeks, with many seeing tightening lockdown measures.

Now, the group of councils - Bradford, Barnsley, Calderdale, Kirklees, Rotherham, Sheffield and Wakefield - are urging the government to back schemes such a supporting people on zero hours contracts who may be reluctant to get tested over fears they may need to stay at home and miss out on pay.

They have written to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Dido Harding, chairwoman of the NHS Test and Trace Programme, detailing the nature of the challenges that exist in their districts, alongside an action plan for how they can be overcome through ‘tailored interventions’.

Based on their ‘direct experiences in Yorkshire’, the council leaders ask for additional funding for care homes, many of which are under occupied due to the pandemic and may not survive long enough to act as a ‘safety net’ for the NHS in the event of a second spike or the onset of severe winter pressures.

Susan Hinchcliffe, leader of Bradford District Council, said: “We very much welcome the government’s announcement on extending test and trace. It’s a vital tool and we need the extra investment to make it happen. Local authorities are best placed to understand and work with the needs of their local communities. The only way we’re going to beat this virus is by further strengthening our local activity.

“The actions we have drawn up add pace and scale to our efforts at a local level. We have developed a compelling case for more localised interventions and the added benefits they could generate.  We look forward to exploring with government how they can support us put them into practice.”