Today, the death toll stands at 33,614. We are also seeing the measures that we have had in place over the past 7 weeks being rolled back as people return to work and use of our roads is expanded. News today that Transport for London and major rail operators across the country had been expecting and preparing for some return on Monday 18th only to learn on the night of Boris Johnson’s announcement of the earlier date fills me with far less confidence that their is a sound strategy underpinning these announcements that prioritises public health above all else.
Back to Work Guidance
I welcome that the Government’s guidance has adopted some of the measures called for by the TUC and Labour. Unfortunately, this guidance still falls short of providing a clear plan for a safe return to work outside the home. There is no obligation for employers with fewer than 50 employees to publish risk assessments, which is a missed opportunity. After a decade of budget cuts, the Health and Safety Executive does not have the resources to inspect workplaces. Without enough funding, the executive cannot enforce laws protecting workers and public health.
I would like to congratulate Leeds City Council Chief Executive Tom Riordan. The Government has asked Tom to take a key role in its contact tracing programme across the country. He will lead on ensuring that the arrangements for linking contact tracing work at local level as well as ensuring that the partnerships and capacity are in place to support this, not only in Leeds but country-wide. Tom will take on this important national role for three months, alongside his responsibilities at Leeds City Council. Both the council and the government acknowledge his position as chief executive is also crucial to the handling of the pandemic in Leeds.
Leeds City Council has launched a new website that aims to help families who are having relationship difficulties. The website, provides information, tips and advice for disagreements and arguments between family. The new site is at www.relationshipmatters.org.uk. It will help people recognise when regular conflict may be having a negative impact on families, in particularly children. It aims to reduce this impact by helping families navigate common situations such as;
Regular arguments and shouting
Worries about separation/divorce
Managing sulking, silent treatment and slamming doors
Worries and anxiety getting in the way of managing everyday life
Difficulty apologising and moving on after an argument
Conflict via hurtful texts, emails, or social media
The new website provides tips and information to help families stay calm and work out what needs to happen. It will also signpost them to get further help where appropriate.
UK Freedom Movement
Shocking posters have emerged to promote the ‘mass gatherings’ in Middleton Park, Middleton, and Woohouse Moor, Hyde Park. The “UK Freedom Movement” have told people to “bring a picnic”, with the message encouraging participants to “say no to the Coronavirus Bill”. The reckless messages are at odds with the government’s advice on social distancing to limit the spread of coronavirus. In a statement, West Yorkshire Police said the following. “West Yorkshire Police urges people to continue to observe social distancing rules. We hope the compliance we have seen from the vast majority of people will continue in the weeks ahead and our approach will continue to focus on engaging, explaining and encouraging, with enforcement as a last resort, should it be necessary. Our neighbourhood officers’ pre-existing positive relationship with local communities has really helped us maintain a good working relationship and we continue to be there to reassure people and to deal with criminality.” I would urge anyone considering attending to please reconsider.