Lockdown roadmap: Sadiq Khan welcomes plan to give Londoners 'clarity on future'

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London's mayor said he welcomed the government's plan to move cautiously out of lockdown, adding it gave "Londoners more clarity about the future". Sadiq Khan said it was right to proceed carefully at a time when Covid infections were still high and it was important lessons were learnt from previous lockdowns.

Mr Khan said there was now "light at the end of the tunnel", adding this must be the final lockdown.

"We simply cannot risk completely lifting restrictions too early, leading to a surge in cases and further mutations in the virus which would put the whole roadmap and our economic recovery at risk," said Mr Khan.

He added that while focusing on reopening schools first is the right approach, parents, teachers, support staff and employers “need more clarity and support” on the rollout of widespread testing, and statutory sick pay and eligibility for self-isolation payments should be increased.

“It is also deeply frustrating that the Prime Minister outlined a road map today, but didn’t give businesses the certainty they desperately need that the business rates holiday, VAT relief and furlough scheme will be extended,” he added.

“It’s disgraceful that the three million people excluded from any financial support continue to be ignored.”

Boris Johnson has outlined the four steps that will complete England’s roadmap out of lockdown, with schools the first to reopen fully. The timing for each step will depend on various data - including the success of the vaccine rollout and hospitalisation figures - but caution is the key to the government’s approach.

England’s route out of lockdown will be relatively slower than the reopening last June, with weeks between each step, and all dates are subject to change.