Local Liberal Democrats have hit back at the Government's announcement that England will go into a second national lockdown until 2nd December, saying that they have "dithered, delayed, and ignored expert advice", something they say has "cost lives and jobs".
Local Liberal Democrats have argued for a two week 'circuit-breaker' lockdown to get case-levels under control across the country, as top scientists have been arguing for weeks. However, the Government has waited until the end of October, after thousands have received redundancy notices and cases have sky-rocketed, to announce a much longer extension.
Meanwhile, only last week Harrogate & Knaresborough's MP stood in the Commons imploring the Health Secretary to agree that "a blanket national lockdown is wrong".
Local Liberal Democrats have been arguing since August for an extension to the furlough scheme to head off a sharp rise in unemployment, as well as greater support packages for Harrogate & Knaresborough's hospitality, tourism, and events sectors — the bedrock of its local economy. Harrogate & Knaresborough's MP opposed this, dismissing unemployment worries as "alarmist".
Responding to the announcement of a national lockdown, Lib Dem Parliamentary Spokesperson for Harrogate & Knaresborough, Judith Rogerson, said:
"Yet again the Conservative government has dithered and delayed. They were too slow to act in March and too slow now. Weeks ago they were advised by scientists that a short ‘circuit break’ was needed over half term but Boris Johnson did not listen. As a result we are now facing a longer and tougher lockdown. This is a dreadful blow to families and businesses as Christmas approaches.
"It is absolutely crucial that the next four weeks are used to sort out the broken track, trace and isolate system. The Government must not squander this opportunity if it is serious about saving lives and livelihoods."
Councillor Geoff Webber added:
"Only last week Harrogate & Knaresborough's MP stood in the Commons arguing that 'a blanket national lockdown is wrong'. How can he roll back from that so soon with a straight face? Foresight is in his job description; seven months on he and his party shouldn't be waiting until breaking point to respond to the crisis."