Lockdown 3: York’s MPs give their verdict

5 Jan 2021 @ 12.09 am
| News

The MP for York Outer, Conservative Julian Sturdy, says it is very disappointing to be re-entering lockdown and experiencing the sacrifices associated with it.

However, he says with York’s escalating case rate it was inevitable that further measures would be needed locally to suppress the virus.

The Labour MP for York Central, Rachael Maskell, agrees saying she appreciates that this is a very difficult time for everyone.

“People are very concerned about the impact of a further lockdown and many are struggling with these long periods of isolation.”

Mr Sturdy is worried about the return to virtual distanced learning for the first spring half term for all but the children of key workers and the vulnerable.

“Closing schools disproportionately affects primary school children going through the key development stages as well as those from the lowest socioeconomic backgrounds. Working parents will also be confronted with stark choices when trying to balance childcare and their jobs.”

He says he will making the case to allow the return of regular teaching as soon as it is safely possible and will also be reviewing plans for this summer’s exams to avoid a repeat of last year’s A Level fiasco.

“With two vaccines now approved, a return to normality is more tangible than it has ever been in the past nine months,” he said.

“Therefore, the resumption of shielding for a matter of weeks while the prioritised vulnerable are vaccinated is sensible and a move I welcome.

“I also hope the return of the explicit ‘stay at home’ message clears up any previous ambiguity and I expect all employers to make accommodations to allow workers to work from home wherever possible.”

Rachael Maskell said “At last, the Prime Minister has responded to the dangerous increase in Covid19 infections. He was warned that his plans for social mixing over Christmas would lead to a significant rise in infection, however he did not take the necessary action to protect the public.

“Now that the NHS is overwhelmed he has been forced to act.

“Once again, this crisis could have been avoided.”

During this lockdown, we need a credible plan for a safe re-opening of the economy, to provide support for jobs and ensure that people are not put at risk again. We have the hope of the vaccine, but until this is rolled out we need everyone to play their full part.”

Mr Sturdy added that the Government still needs to offer more clarity though, with a clear exit strategy from current measures as well as a set timeframe for parliamentary reviews of restrictions.

“I know this latest news will be another blow for York residents, especially those who work in our city’s hugely important hospitality and tourism sectors, but with an effective vaccination programme underway the end is clearer than it ever has been before.

“Our Yorkshire grit is being tested a further time, but I am confident we will once again overcome the challenges we are facing ready to open up for a summer of success and rejuvenation.”