Sunday Mirror

If only PM had acted a lot ear­lier

- England · Boris Johnson · Universal Credit

Once again, the coun­try has to steel it­self for an­other na­tional lock­down. The surge in the num­ber of Covid cases has made such a move un­avoid­able. Un­less we act, the death toll from this ter­ri­ble virus will rise and the NHS in Eng­land will be un­able to cope.

To save lives, we have to make this sacri­fice. But no­body is un­der any il­lu­sion about the cost. It leaves many firms, al­ready strug­gling from the first lock­down, in a pre­car­i­ous po­si­tion.

More jobs will be put at risk. More liveli­hoods left in the bal­ance.

Nor should we for­get the per­sonal toll. Fam­i­lies and friends will be iso­lated, putting fur­ther pres­sure on peo­ple’s men­tal health.

Now, more than ever, we need to look out for our neigh­bours and reach out to those who are alone or shield­ing.

There is also a re­spon­si­bil­ity on the Government to put in place a ro­bust sup­port scheme for com­pa­nies and or­gan­i­sa­tions af­fected by the new re­stric­tions.

This is an anx­ious time for work­ers across Eng­land, who could be fac­ing un­em­ploy­ment through no fault of their own.

And there should be ad­di­tional sup­port for fam­i­lies on the bread­line for whom Uni­ver­sal Credit is not nearly gen­er­ous enough.

While a sec­ond na­tional lock­down in Eng­land is un­avoid­able, it was not un­pre­dicted.

Boris John­son was ad­vised more than three weeks ago by his own sci­en­tists to im­pose a two-week cir­cuit breaker.

To the Prime Min­is­ter’s shame, he ig­nored that ad­vice. In­stead of be­ing guided by the sci­ence, he jet­ti­soned it.

In do­ing so, he missed the chance to get ahead of the curve, save lives and limit the eco­nomic dam­age wrought by Covid.

In­stead of two-week cir­cuit breaker, we are now fac­ing a month of new re­stric­tions.

Hav­ing been too slow to bring in the first lock­down, Mr John­son has now been too slow to bring in the sec­ond one.

What an ab­ject fail­ure of lead­er­ship at a time of na­tional cri­sis.

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