Are West Yorkshire restrictions working? Boris Johnson can’t say...
The prime minister says local restrictions in West Yorkshire are reviewed every day - but can’t produce any evidence that they’re working.
For parts of Bradford and Kirklees, restrictions on meeting people from outside your household have been in place since the end of July. Calderdale has been in and out of restrictions and after a surge in new coronavirus cases, Leeds now finds itself in the same boat.
Despite these enhanced restrictions, the incidence rate of the virus - a key metric the government uses to monitor local outbreaks - has more than tripled in Kirklees, Bradford and Calderdale.
If there’s any evidence these local restrictions are working to control the virus - the prime minister couldn’t provide it in our interview.
Local officials have long said they’re best placed to make decisions on restrictions in their areas - and complain national government has failed to delegate enough authority. Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis wants regional mayors to have a seat on the government’s COBRA committee. Conservative MP Philip Davies has accused Downing Street of a “power grab”.
Boris Johnson told ITV Calendar decisions are made “in consultation” with local authorities and only after businesses complain about the impact of restrictions do council officials say they’ve been imposed by government.
You can sense the prime minister’s frustration that so much of his time is now taken up responding to the virus. His legacy on ‘levelling up’ will likely be depend on whether coronavirus can be brought under control in our region in the coming months.