As many of you know, raising the profile and issues around the care sector has been a major priority for me, ever since this virus took hold. I am devastated to read this morning that over 22,000 care home residents in England and Wales may have died as a direct or indirect result of Covid-19. More than double the official figure. This is a tragedy and my thoughts and prayers go to every family and every staff member who have been deeply affected. I will continue to do all I can for the care homes here in Leeds, but serious questions have to be asked about early Government inaction when all the warning signs were there and could be heard loud and clear by all those who would listen.
Council park car parks will reopen but playgrounds in parks will remain closed and the gates locked with notices in place. Outdoor gym equipment in parks is also still off limits and toilet facilities will remain closed.
Multi use games areas will reopen.
You can fish and use bowling greens in parks.
The Arium will be open to the public for plant and sundry sales. The café will remain closed.
From 22nd May:
Roundhay park and Temple Newsam golf courses will open.
From 1st June:
Park cafes and concessions will be open (takeaway only)
Concern Around Transport
The Government’s guidance telling people to return to work fails to answer a fundamental question. How do you stop the transport network being overwhelmed when it’s currently running at a fraction of capacity? The scenes we saw on packed public transport services yesterday were unsurprising. The Government ordered a return to work with 12 hours’ notice, with no official guidance on how workers can keep safe. That was irresponsible and wrong.
Travel to the UK
I’m glad the UK is finally coming into line with other countries and bringing in quarantine measures for those returning home. We need clarity from the Prime Minister, telling us why he is not introducing this immediately. And why have over 100,000 people come into the UK since lockdown without any quarantine measures? The Government needs to work with airlines, air operators and the Border Force to put in place practical solutions to stop the spread of the virus.
Ill-thought through proposals will fail as soon as the Government rolls them out. The Government should have worked out this sort of policy weeks ago. It’s systematic of a government that was too slow. Too slow to enter lockdown, too slow to get vital PPE to the NHS, social care and other key workers, and too slow on testing and tracing to help stop the spread. It will take a long time to recover from the impact of the coronavirus.
The Chancellor has announced the extension of furlough until October. The furlough scheme is a lifeline for millions. The Government was right not to pull it away. It is welcome that the Chancellor has heeded the call by Labour, trade unions, and businesses for more flexibility in the scheme.
The Government must clarify when they will need employers will to start making contributions, and how much they’ll ask employers to pay. If the Government requires every business to make a large contribution, there is a very real risk that we will see mass redundancies.