PM must get a grip of coronavirus spread in the North

Today, Liberal Democrats from across the North of England, including four council leaders, Salford Quays campaigner Alex Warren, Liberal Democrat MP Tim Farron, and Liberal Democrat Leader in the Lords Dick Newby, have written to the Prime Minister stating that the North has been “overlooked by a London-centric government”.

The letter calls for a raft measures to be implemented urgently to help stop the spread of the virus across vast swathes of the country.

Some of the measures include:

  • Rapidly funding local authorities to enable a local scale-up of the failing test, trace and isolate system
  • Increasing support for those who need to self-isolate and cannot work from home
  • Expanding furlough support until June 2021

Following the letter, Laura Gordon, Chair of the Northern Liberal Network, said:

The Government’s strategy so far has failed. Restrictions in areas like Greater Manchester and the North East have been in place for months, yet they are still experiencing a huge spike in coronavirus cases.

It is clear that urgent action is needed before hospitals become overwhelmed. But unless Ministers start working with local leaders to overhaul and properly fund the test, trace and isolate system, these lockdown measures alone will do little to allow Ministers to get a grip on this second wave.

Equally, people in the North of England are desperate for more financial support from the Chancellor. Supporting those who need to self-isolate and can’t work from home, as well as extending the furlough scheme until next summer, would be an important start in getting control of the virus and saving livelihoods.

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