Top Tory demands minister start accounting for 'real' cost of lockdown10/27/2020
Show us ‘the real costs of Covid-19’: Tory backbench leader Sir Graham Brady demands ministers start accounting for the wider impact of lockdowns on NHS care and the economy and act in ‘the best interests of the nation as a whole’
- Ministers have ‘duty to take into account best interests of the nation as a whole’
- Sir Graham’s seat is in Greater Manchester, which is in highest Tier 3 lockdown
- Demanded ‘recognition of ‘the toll these measures are taking on the country’
Ministers must start providing data on the ‘the real costs of Covid-19’ on people’s lives, including throttling of NHS care and the economic impact of lockdown, a top Tory warned today.
Sir Graham Brady said the Government had ‘a duty to take into account the best interests of the nation as a whole’ but could not do that without vast improvements in the data available to it.
Sir Graham, the chairman of the 1922 Committee of backbench Conservatives, is the MP for Altringham and Sale West in Greater Manchester, which was last week placed in the highest Tier 3 lockdown.
He said that the Department of Health and Social Care should compile and publish data on deaths caused by reduced access to care, and for the Treasury to do the same about ‘shuttered businesses and lost jobs’.
He warned that amid Labour demands for a ‘circuit break’ lockdown and increasing numbers of cities being placed into the Very High lockdown, there needed to be recognition of ‘the extraordinary toll that these measures are taking on the country’.
‘The cost of lockdown extends far beyond the public accounts. Suicide rates are up. People are missing out on life-saving operations and essential care,’ he wrote in an op-ed for the Conservative Home website.
Sir Graham Brady said the Government had ‘a duty to take into account the best interests of the nation as a whole’ but could not do that without vast improvements in the data available
West Yorkshire may be next to move into Tier Three affecting 1.8million people. If it were to be plunged into Tier Three, it would follow neighbours South Yorkshire, Lancashire and Greater Manchester
LIVERPOOL MAYOR ‘SUPPORTS TIER FOUR’
The Labour politician, who lost his own brother to the pandemic less than a fortnight ago, said he is not opposed to the introduction of ‘tougher measures if necessary’
Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson said today he could support any move to place the city into a new harsher Tier 4 lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus.
The Labour politician, who suffered the tragedy of losing his own brother to the pandemic less than a fortnight ago, said he is not opposed to the introduction of ‘tougher measures if necessary’.
Liverpool was the first English region to be put into the top Tier 3 and is one of five northern locations currently under the strictest level of lockdown measures due to a surge in cases.
This morning Mr Anderson, whose brother Bill was one of 61 people to die with the virus in the city in one week, told BBC Breakfast: ‘(The pandemic) has taken untold damage on people’s wellbeing and a huge toll on families where people have died.
‘If anything was required to bring it down faster I would do that.
‘However, I want to make sure that we are giving tier three a chance to see if the measures have an impact.’
He added he would review the results of the Tier 3 restrictions in 14 to 16 days’ time.
A fourth tier could see restaurants and non-essential retail stores close, with the plans being explored after the Scottish Government opted for a five-tier model in which Level 4 is closer to the full lockdown implemented in March – but with schools remaining open.
‘Millions are struggling with their mental health as restrictions cut them off from friends, family, and other support networks.
‘Domestic violence is on the rise as women are trapped at home with violent partners.
‘All the while young people, who are amongst those least at risk from Covid-19, are paying a huge price.
‘School has been disrupted, formative moments and milestones missed, and now many are confined to their dormitories at university.
‘Does anyone honestly think that this is sustainable for a year, or more? The ”lockdown raves” we saw this summer will be just the start.’
West Yorkshire may become the next part of England to move into the strictest Tier Three lockdown, with council leaders demanding tougher action to curb spiralling coronavirus cases and hospital admissions.
Local officials held crunch talks with senior ministers yesterday to discuss the ‘next steps’ in tackling Covid-19 in West Yorkshire, with further behind-closed-doors meetings scheduled in the ‘coming days’.
The region, home to around 1.8million people living in the boroughs of Leeds, Kirklees, Calderdale, Bradford and Wakefield, is already under Tier Two — which means they are banned from meeting up with friends and family indoors.
But if Number 10 plunges the area into the toughest bracket, it will mean all pubs and bars have to close unless they serve meals. Residents will also be banned from mixing with anyone they don’t live with indoors or in private gardens and beer gardens.
Warrington in Cheshire became the latest place to enter Tier Three, with the rules coming into force this morning. Nottingham City, Gedling, Broxtowe and Rushcliffe will all join the toughest tier from Thursday, meaning 8million people will be living under the tightest curbs by the weekend.
Sir Graham added: ‘It makes sense for the scientific advisers, whose task is advising the Government on combating coronavirus, to focus exclusively on it. But ministers do not have that luxury. They have a duty to take into account the best interests of the nation as a whole.
‘But they can’t do that without adequate data. So as we brace for what might be a long-haul fight against the pandemic, the Government must start accounting properly for the real costs of Covid-19.
‘The Department of Health should compile and publish the statistics for excess deaths arising from reduced access to care. The Treasury should do the same for shuttered businesses and lost jobs.
‘Recent reports suggest that the Chancellor is prepared to take such action. It is very much to be hoped that he will, and that the Department of Heath will do likewise.
It came as Boris Johnson was warned by a group of more than 50 Tory backbenchers representing northern constituencies that the pandemic is threatening his election pledge to ‘level up’ the country as they called for a ‘road map out of lockdown’.
The North-South divide in the tier system has sparked concern among Tory MPs, with the newly-formed Northern Research Group writing to the Prime Minister to express their fears.
The group, led by former northern powerhouse minister Jake Berry, urged Mr Johnson to set out a ‘clear road map’ out of lockdown restrictions.
Mr Berry said: ‘Our constituents have been some of the hardest hit by this virus with many losing jobs, businesses, and livelihoods.
‘Never has there been a more pertinent and urgent political and economic case to support people living in the North.
‘However, instead of moving forwards on our shared ambitions, the cost of Covid and the virus itself threatens to send the North into reverse.’
The ex-minister insisted he was not leading a ‘revolt’ against Mr Johnson, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today: ‘I don’t know how it can be a revolt for northern MPs to write to the Prime Minister to ask to work with him on delivering his exciting manifesto that he has a mandate for from December 2019.’
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