Liberal Democrats from northern England have called on the Government to take “urgent action” to support local communities facing the impact of coronavirus restrictions.
In a letter, a group of Lib Dems have urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to work constructively with local political leaders who are “grounded” in communities, with Covid-19 cases rising across the UK.
The group, the Northern Liberal Network, also warned that the north of England is too often “overlooked by a London-centric government”.
The letter was signed by the party’s former leader Tim Farron, as well as by councillors from across the north of England.
As part of their call for action, the Lib Dems said that urgent funding should be made available for action on Test and Trace, while there must be support to enable people to self-isolate.
They also said that there should be an extension of the furlough scheme, criticising the decision to end the scheme at the end of October as a “heartless choice”.
Unless ministers start working with local leaders to overhaul and properly fund the test, trace and isolate system, these lockdown measures alone will do little to allow ministers to get a grip on this second wave
Protection for people living in care and support for children and young people were also highlighted as key areas by the group.
Laura Gordon, chair of the Northern Liberal Network, said that people are desperate for more financial support from Chancellor Rishi Sunak.
She said: “The Government’s strategy so far has failed. Restrictions in areas like Greater Manchester and the North East have been in place for months, yet they are still experiencing a huge spike in coronavirus cases.
“It is clear that urgent action is needed before hospitals become overwhelmed. But unless ministers start working with local leaders to overhaul and properly fund the test, trace and isolate system, these lockdown measures alone will do little to allow ministers to get a grip on this second wave.
“Equally, people in the north of England are desperate for more financial support from the Chancellor.
“Supporting those who need to self-isolate and can’t work from home, as well as extending the furlough scheme until next summer, would be an important start in getting control of the virus and saving livelihoods.”