Ann McGauran 13 January 2021

Cheshire leaders put concerns to Government on jabs, lockdown and schools

Cheshire leaders put concerns to Government on jabs, lockdown and schools image

Council leaders in Cheshire and their partners have written to the Government laying out their concerns about the vaccination rollout, current lockdown arrangements and schools.

The letter highlights that for most over-80s, ‘attendance at the Manchester city centre vaccination site is not a viable or safe option’, and there needs to be a greater focus on ‘more accessible and community based sites’ if progress with the vaccination rollout is to be made rapidly.

The letter from the leaders of Cheshire East, Cheshire West and Chester, Warrington and Halton Councils, the police and crime commissioner and the chair of the local enterprise partnership also said that while they ‘support the need for a lockdown’, the regulations ‘left too many areas of social and economic interaction subject to uncertainty’.

Sent jointly to local government secretary Robert Jenrick and health secretary Matt Hancock, the letter said that last Spring ‘there was widespread public compliance with a simple but effective message’.

But it added that currently ‘the clarity of the “stay at home” message is undermined by ambiguity between the regulations and the guidelines; making compliance more difficult to secure, and creating challenges for our enforcement authorities’.

For example, ‘regulations enable people to exercise far from home, congregate in beauty spots and public places, and travel for click-and-collect shopping’, it added.

The ‘more liberal interpretation of lockdown in the current regulations’ means that ‘many more people are required to work away from home, increasing the risks that their communities will continue to be disproportionately affected’, the letter continued.

It said travel in private and public transport is more significant than in the previous lockdowns, and they had ‘evidence that mask-wearing is not sufficiently enforceable in indoor public places or outdoor areas where people are in close proximity’.

The council leaders and partners said they would support additional measures ‘to tighten these areas further, to be implemented alongside further financial support for businesses and their employees, and the self-employed’.

The letter also called the process for partial closure of schools ‘chaotic and poorly communicated by government, ‘leaving our school staff, parents and pupils to deal with a terrible conflict between the education of children and the protection of public health’.

The councils and their partners ‘would also oppose a premature lifting of the lockdown’ until there was a sustained period of reduced infection, the immediate pressures on hospitals had been resolved, and the vaccine has protected those at highest risk of hospital admission and serious illness.

It welcomed the extension of asymptomatic testing under local management and the progress being made to roll out the vaccine. The letter said councils are ‘playing an important role in support of the local NHS’, but that  ‘more local discretion would enable us to target specific communities, groups and individuals, based on evidence of the local public health benefit’.

Community-level data is still not available publicly, according to the letter, ‘despite the huge public interest in understanding the roll-out of the vaccine locally, and the links to our local outbreak plans’.

For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Head of Digital Data & Digital Democracy

Newham London Borough Council
£86,000 per annum
Recuriter: Newham London Borough Council

Head of Service Design & Insight

Newham London Borough Council
£86,000 per annum
Newham is a vibrant, diverse and aspirational place, one of the youngest boroughs in London Newham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Newham London Borough Council

Business Support Assistant

City of York Council
£18,865 - £20,013 per annum
We are looking to appoint an enthusiastic individual to work within the Business Support Payroll and Pensions Team. York, North Yorkshire
Recuriter: City of York Council

Advanced Practitioner

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£44,370 - £50,964 per annum
As a member of a dedicated local social work team, you will find a fantastically collaborative team spirit awaits you. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

SEN Occupational Therapist

The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council
£44,370 - £50,964
On a day-to-day basis, you will be out and about as you build exceptional relationships with a manageable portfolio of schools and teachers. Kensington and Chelsea, London (Greater)
Recuriter: The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue