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Source: Labour List UK

Steve Reed has said that “we must not allow more Leicesters to happen”, urging the government to share data quickly with councils and make clear what powers authorities have to enforce local lockdowns.

In an interview with Sky News this morning, the Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary accused the government of failing to prepare adequately for the local lockdown strategy to be effective.

He described “a lot of confusion in Leicester” on the day the lockdown was imposed, saying that local public health authorities and the police were not aware of the powers that they had to enforce the measures.

The Labour MP for Croydon North said: “What we’re calling for today is what local authority leaders have been calling for, for weeks. And it’s fundamentally two things which are part of this.

“First of all, they need the data that shows whether in their town or locality there is an increase in the rate of infection, and the government has been refusing to give that to them.”

He described how “the authorities in Leicester did not know the problem that was growing there”, and said that “the data they had showed that there we 80 people infected – the government had data that showed 944 people were infected”.

He added: “Point two is local authorities, the police, Public Health England need to know what powers they have to enforce a local lockdown where it is imposed.

“There was a lot of confusion in Leicester on the day that it was imposed about whether, for instance, people living near the boundaries of the city could still go out to work, whether the police had the power to stop them or should stop them.”

The Shadow Communities and Local Government Secretary highlighted that he had sent a letter to the public health minister on June 8th setting out the concerns raised by local councils, but that he has received no response.

He concluded: “They have had weeks to prepare – they haven’t done it. We must not allow more Leicesters to happen. We must not allow the risk of an outbreak in a particular town or city growing into a national outbreak.”

Labour has called on the government to take “urgent action” to ensure that local lockdowns are “robust and efficient”, and set out a four-point plan to prevent a second wave of coronavirus.

MIL OSI United Kingdom