Today I was selected to speak in the debate on the government’s motion to approve the new Coronavirus Restrictions.
Many of my constituents tell me they are sick and tired of the way the government are treating them.
This Government’s strategy has been all over the place. It seems to depend on who the Prime Minister last spoke to. Friends of government have made millions while some of my constituents have had no help whatsoever, have lost their jobs or their jobs are hanging by a thread.
Just last night, two constituents told me they had been made redundant and another told me his son had lost his apprenticeship. The forgotten and excluded, last time I gave examples of the constituents who are self-employed getting little or no help – this is still the case. Hospitality has been sacrificed.
I don’t know about the Prime Minister or Ministers but in my constituency many pubs are very much part of community and culture and they and restaurants have worked tremendously hard to be Covid-19 safe and spent thousands of pounds. There is still no real evidence that Hospitality is a major cause of Covid-19 outbreaks.
Many of my constituents are in debt with their rent, mortgages and bills and have no idea how they will pay it back. Then, there is the unintended health consequences of this. Their children are petrified about exams next year after being in and out of school. The Government has never properly addressed the issue about people who will die because they haven’t been treated for diseases such as cancer quickly enough.
I submitted a FOI request to Halton CCG about GP referrals. This came back with some staggering figures concerning GP referrals to first outpatient appointment. Comparing September 2019 to this September there has been: Cardio – 66% drop in referrals
Gastro – 64% drop in referrals
Renal Medicine – 57% drop in referrals
Ophthalmology – 68% drop in referrals
I have now asked for figures from Halton CCG on excess non Covid-19 deaths at home. Then there is the financial impact on councils – Halton Council currently estimate that the impact of Covid19 upon council tax and business rates income will, by year end, be a deficit of £8.6m. The impact of this will not be felt until 2021/22 onwards. We should be supporting and funding councils properly so that more can be done locally.
If what we are hearing is correct, that the vaccines are going to be very effective, it is even more crucial that the Government gets its strategy right for delivery and we do not see a repeat of their incompetence that we saw over PPE and Test & Trace. We all need to work together to ensure effective take up.
My constituents deserve to be treated with respect, not patronised that they may be granted a few days of normality at Christmas by the Prime Minister as some sort of reward for their sacrifice and suffering. In the real world many will not have an enjoyable Christmas as their jobs have gone and they are desperately worried about what the New Year will bring.
I am not against some restrictions but there must be a balanced approach and a proper strategy for dealing with the health and economic consequences.
I will be voting against these regulations tonight. You can view what I said this afternoon on the video below.