No lockdown for wealthy areas as leaked emails show affluent places are avoiding coronavirus restrictions.
Government ministers have been accused of “political interference” over local lockdowns. Leaked emails show wealthy areas are avoiding restrictions despite having higher Covid-19 rates than poorer areas.
The Government is under mounting pressure to explain why large parts of the north and Midlands are under local lockdowns while overlooking areas with similar infection rates.
Matt Hancock, the health secretary, decides which areas to place in lockdown during meetings with advisers. He has refused an interview with Global247 news.
Professor Dominic Harrison, director of public health for Blackburn with Darwen, wrote to Department of Health and Social Care, saying the measures were “avoidably increasing economic inequality”.
In an email leaked to the Sunday Times, Professor Harrison said: “There is now a different level of central control applied across local authorities, with some of the more economically challenged boroughs being placed into more restrictive control measures at an earlier point in their case rate trajectory.
“This has the effect of exacerbating the economic inequality impacts of the virus in those areas. We urgently need consistency in the national strategy if the control system itself is not to add to inequality, giving an economic ‘double whammy’ to more challenged areas.”
Labour challenge Government
Speaking to the BBC, Labour’s Jon Ashworth asked why seats belonging to senior ministers had been spared tougher measures.
“I think because there is no clear guidelines as to why an area goes into restrictions and how an area comes out of restrictions then there is a suspicion that there is political interference – I hope there isn’t,” he told the BBC.
“But until the Government publish clear guidelines, that suspicion will always linger.”
Rishi Sunak’s seat in North Yorkshire, has 73 new cases for every 100,000 people. It is one of the least deprived areas in Britain. When officials first imposed lockdowns in August, they intervened in wards where the rate exceeded 60 weekly cases per 100,000. In areas where infections exceed 70 but lockdown has been avoided, the majority were represented by Tory MPs.
Asked why the northwest is “treated differently” from areas such as his own seat of Uxbridge and South Ruislip, Boris Johnson said on Friday: “I appreciate people want to see an iron consistency applied across the whole country.”
Kier Starmer the Labour leader has yet to comment on the situation.
Meanwhile the current R number for the UK is between 1.3 and 1.6. This means that on average every 10 people infected will infect between 13 and 16 other people. The Growth rate is between +5%and +9%. This means the number of new infections is growing by 5% to 9% every day.
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