Sam Tarry demands two-week ‘circuit breaker’ lockdown in London

Sienna Rodgers
© David Woolfall/CC BY 3.0

Ilford South representative Sam Tarry has gone above and beyond Labour Party policy today by writing to Matt Hancock with the demand that the government implement a two-week ‘circuit-breaker” lockdown in London.

The 2019 intake MP has warned that the government “must act decisively to stop any further escalation of the infection rates in London” and highlighted that “partial” lockdown measures elsewhere have not driven down infection rates.

Noting that Black, Asian and minority ethnic communities are particularly hard-hit by Covid, Tarry said: “BAME communities form a significant part of the vibrant tapestry of my constituency and this country. We simply cannot afford to let them down again.”

Labour London mayor Sadiq Khan has expressed support for further restrictions, and told Sky News this afternoon that he is keen for any measures to be applied across the city, as opposed to individual boroughs.

Khan has also described it as “inevitable” that London will “have passed a trigger point” in the next few days and can soon be expected to be put into Tier 2 lockdown restrictions following a rise in Covid-19 cases in the city.

Below is the full text of Sam Tarry’s letter to Matt Hancock.

Dear Secretary of State,

Act now – Implement a two-week “circuit-breaker” lockdown in London

I write to you amidst concerning news that my local borough has one of the highest Covid-19 infection rates in London. Alongside Richmond Upon Thames, the London Borough of Redbridge saw infection rates rise to more than 100 per 100,000.

The London Regional Director for Public Health England, Professor Fenton, has warned that “Coronavirus cases in London are continuing to rise and we are seeing undeniable evidence of that trend.”

It is clear that the government must act decisively to stop any further escalation of the infection rates in London and that we must learn the lessons of other regions across the country who have been in partial lockdowns and are still seeing rising infection rates. Oldham has witnessed soaring infection rates from 205.4 to 327.3 per 100,000 in the space of a week, despite being under ‘tight’ lockdown measures since the end of August. Partial lockdown measures in other regions, such as Greater Manchester, have failed to curb the infection rates of the virus, with Manchester seeing its infection rate rise by more than a hundred to 543 per 100,000 last week.

The current overall London lockdown infection rate remains just below 100 per 100,000. That is why I believe that now is the time for the government to act and urgently implement a “circuit-breaker” lockdown to prevent London suffering the fate of other major cities across the country and halt the trend of rising infection rates across the city.

Clearly, this will mean that additional financial support be need to urgently be provided to all workers and business who will be affected; however, the cost of this support will be far smaller than that which will be required if infection and death rates soar and London is forced into a much longer lockdown to relieve the strain on our healthcare systems and prevent yet again suffering the worst Covid-related death toll in Europe as we saw during the first wave.

The government’s financial and economic support measures must go beyond what has been offered so far. The partially-extended furlough scheme has failed to account for businesses in severely restricted sectors that are closed in all but name and provide enough incentive for companies to retain staff. These include the hospitality, events, and arts industries. To be able to defeat the virus effectively we must learn from countries such as Germany whose ‘Kurzarbeit’ job support scheme is far more comprehensive and has been instrumental in supporting crucial lockdown interventions to curb the rise of the virus.

Similar calls have been echoed by the Mayor of London, who has also stated the need for tighter restrictions across the city, with the required social and economic support provided to all citizens. This comes after the government was slow to act on the Mayor of London’s 15-point plan which outlined ways for our capital city to avoid the need for a long-term lockdown as we saw in March.

Professor Calum Semple, an expert on your very own SAGE advisory board, has also recommended “circuit-breaker” lockdowns as an effective way to surgically intervene early to slow the spread of this deadly virus and prevent it spiralling out of control.

All data since the start of this pandemic suggests that Black and Minority Ethnic (BAME) communities are disproportionately affected by this virus. BAME communities form a significant part of the vibrant tapestry of my constituency and this country. We simply cannot afford to let them down again.

Secretary of State, the lives of my constituents are literally in the hands of this government. I therefore urge you to work with the Mayor of London’s office to implement this measure with immediate effect.

Yours sincerely,

Sam Tarry MP
Member of Parliament for Ilford South
CC – The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, Chancellor of the Exchequer

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