19 October 2020 – today’s press release

Liberal Democrats: PM must get a grip of coronavirus spread in the North

Today, Liberal Democrats from across the North of England, including four council leaders, 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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This entry was posted in News and Press releases.


  • Moan, moan, moan. For goodness sake if the restrictions had not been in place what would be the figures now, through the roof, all the Nightingale Hospitals operating with service personnel taken off military duties, NHS staff on their knees, ambulances filing up outside Hospitals awaiting entrance?. Again the question what would we have done?

  • Peter Martin 20th Oct '20 - 11:07am

    “Rapidly funding local authorities to enable a local scale-up of the failing test, trace and isolate system”

    This particular opportunity has probably passed. The time to get it all working properly was during the summer when infection rates were low. Now that the numbers have increased sharply again a weak system will be quickly overwhelmed and won’t be able to recover fast enough to be effective. The science of the situation required effect testing. The politics were all about numbers. Never mind that many of those having tests either didn’t get their results back at all or they were far too late to be of any use.

    On a personal level I know I should have been contacted by the tracers from a potential contact two weeks ago but I’ve heard nothing. I was thinking of being tested anyway but my confidence in the system wasn’t sufficiently high! And as I’ve had no symptoms apart from a slight sniffle and occasional headache I wasn’t sure if the situation warranted it.

    The mood of the population is that they’ve had enough of lockdowns. There’s no chance of the testing system starting to be effective any time soon. So there is no chance of getting a grip of the situation. Our best hope is that the virus has mutated into a milder form or that there is greater degree of immunity in the population than is generally supposed.

  • David Garlick 20th Oct '20 - 10:03pm

    Hopefully we would have got a grip, showed some real leadership and stood up to take any criticism. Letting AB take control of the situation? Definitely not.

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