22 October 2020 – today’s press releases

  • Economic support plans made “on the hoof” are failing millions
  • Tracing failures shows Hancock needs to overhaul test and trace

Economic support plans made “on the hoof” are failing millions

The Liberal Democrats have accused the Chancellor of “making up plans on the hoof” when it comes to financial support for businesses and workers impacted by COVID-19. Responding to the Chancellor’s statement in the House of Commons today, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson Christine Jardine said:

Yet again the Chancellor is taken by surprise by events unfolding exactly as predicted months ago. He has utterly failed to address the gravity of the economic crisis, with people and businesses facing devastating pressure across the country.

Beyond tinkering around the edges of the Job Support Scheme and correcting some of its blatant errors, he has offered nothing for those slipping into poverty. 67% of salary is just not enough for people to get by on. The Chancellor is making up plans on the hoof and is failing millions of people.

We need real leadership from Government, not a patchwork of ever-changing measures. It’s clearer than ever that the Government should have kept the furlough scheme in place as the Liberal Democrats called for, yet they are too proud to do the right thing and U-turn.

Tracing failures shows Hancock needs to overhaul test and trace

Responding to figures released showing that the Test and Trace system has had its lowest weekly figure since the scheme began, with less than 60% of people in England reached in the week ending 14 October, Liberal Democrat Health and Social Care spokesperson Munira Wilson said:

We already knew that national contact tracing is an utter disaster – but it has now reached rock bottom. The figures released today show the test and trace system has had the lowest weekly figure of contacts traced since the scheme began back in March, not to mention the fact they’re being forced to draft in untrained staff to cope with the level of rising cases.

How can the Health Secretary allow this to happen on his watch? The test, trace and isolate system is crucial for not only slowing the spread of this virus, but for us to have any hope of ever getting out of these restrictions.

The Health Secretary must come to Parliament urgently to explain what this Government will do to overhaul their shambolic test, trace and isolate system.

Tests need to be turned around in 24 hours, tracing needs to be led by experts in local authorities, and people need more practical and financial support to isolate. Otherwise, this virus will continue to threaten lives and livelihoods as a direct result of this Government’s incompetence.

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6 Comments

  • John Marriott 23rd Oct '20 - 9:26am

    I don’t know about current plans being made “on the hoof”. What about the £4bn of fraudulent claims it haS been estimated have been made following the introduction of the April furlough scheme? It makes me sick when I realise how many people there are out there, who are prepared to take advantage out of the present crisis. That’s why we need clear rules and positive monitoring and not just rely either on technology or simply good will. When it comes to making a fast buck, goodwill to one’s fellow citizens sadly goes out of the window as far as some are concerned.

    What happened to careful, consistent planning with an eye on the future? When are we going to stop this short term, knee jerk reaction, with an eye on the polls, that seems to be the leitmotif of modern political thinking?

  • Yes we are in the middle of a very grave situation and any government would find it difficult to find answers to the numerous problems posed by this Covid virus we are all facing, but from the start the present administration has shown a profound lack of leadership and clarity in their responses to this crisis, let alone the terrible examples given by ministers and advisers by flouting their own rules given to the rest of the population. The necessary respect needed was missing from almost day one.

  • Gerald Stewart 23rd Oct '20 - 10:22am

    It seems to me that there are some who will criticise whatever the government tries, too late , too soon, too little, too much, unwilling to think again, U-turn. I’ll bet even if the Astraca Zeneca vaccine is launched first, some how the government will be criticised for either, dragging their feet, underfunding the research and causing the needless deaths of thousands of people or be accused of putting lives at risk by rushing a vaccine through and using the population as guinea pigs for political advantage. No comment on how all this is to be paid for by any of the opposition just demands for more and more and more, mores been empty for years.
    A very small part of me hopes that Labour wins the next election with or without the Lib Dems, I’d enjoy playing the smug know it all critic whilst they fail miserably again.

  • How do we come to terms with the sober fact that the last thing the Government will do is terminate the Serco contact tracing contract and transfer resources to local public health professionals? This is the key to getting a grip on the virus and at least getting us to the point when we can live with it in the medium/long term (like flu) but there are too many business and family links surrounding the current set-up

  • Gerald Stewart 25th Oct '20 - 1:08pm

    Track and Trace is not an ‘utter disaster’ at all, how do you think people working in it feel when you dismiss their efforts so righteously? Yes it needs improvement, but it is not beyond repair. If it were an ‘utter disaster’ then why are the Lib Dems supporting a two – three week circuit breaker t o
    reduce the level of infection and give the government time to sort improve track and trace, or is she not supporting Ed’s stance? So from utter disaster to fit for purpose in just three weeks?
    Munira just looks stupid when she goes to this level of hyperbole, no wonder there is so little trust in politicians.

  • Barry Lofty 25th Oct '20 - 1:40pm

    Trust in politicians is certainly being eroded by the present incumbents and not just in their handling of the pandemic!

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