Petition Do not implement a second national lockdown or other restrictions this winter
In light of the latest Sage reports, I am asking the Government to guarantee there will be no second national lockdown or reimposing of other restrictions this winter.
The national lockdown that began in March this year has been devastating to the UK. Not only have treatments for cancer and other serious illnesses been paused (with potentially fatal consequences), but people's livelihoods have been severely damaged with the blanket shutdown of the economy. Furthermore, the mental wellbeing of the nation has suffered. Considering the current low death rate, we believe a second lockdown would be a massive overreaction leading to further economic devastation.
This response was given on 30 November 2020
The Government introduced new measures in England on 5 November to protect the NHS and reduce the growth in hospitalisations and deaths. Similar steps were taken in other parts of the UK.
The UK Government has tried every possible option to get the virus under control at a local level, with strong local action and strong local leadership. We realise that we must balance the measures we introduce against the long term scars they leave, whether for businesses and jobs, or our physical and mental health. Faced with the data on hospitalisations and death presented by the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Adviser at the press conference on 31 October, there was no alternative but to take further action at a national level in England. These steps taken in England match other steps taken by the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
The Chancellor has announced a series of further measures to help support businesses and individuals during this period.
Firstly, the Government is extending the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) - or the so-called furlough scheme - until the end of March 2021. This will provide additional certainty for jobs and livelihoods by supporting the wage costs of employees and protecting jobs. This is a UK-wide scheme and it will be UK-wide for the whole duration of the extension, until the end of March 2021.
Secondly, the Government is continuing to provide support to the self-employed through the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme (SEISS), totalling £13.7 billion. We have announced a third SEISS grant covering November to January. The new grant, combined with up to £14,070 worth of support for each individual from the first and second grants, places SEISS among the most generous schemes for the self employed in the world.
Thirdly, all business premises which are closed as a result of the November restrictions will receive cash grants of up to £3,000 per month. This is worth over £1 billion per month. Alongside this we have also announced that we plan to extend our loan schemes – the Bounce Back Loan Scheme (BBLS), Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme, Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme and the Future Fund – to the end of January.
In addition, local authorities in England will receive additional funding worth £20 per head to enable them to support other businesses affected by the November restrictions, but which are not legally closed. This is a one off payment worth a further £1.1 billion. As business grant policy is fully devolved, we have already provided a guarantee of minimum funding to the devolved administrations.
We are also seeing some excellent progress on vaccines. However, it would be a mistake to lessen our resolve at such a critical moment - right now we must continue to do everything possible to decisively bring the R down. By remembering the basics of ‘Hands. Face. Space’, and following the rules, we will together protect our NHS, save lives and defeat the virus.
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