Responding to London being put into Tier Three of Covid-19 restrictions, Liberal Democrat candidate for Mayor of London Luisa Porritt said:
“I am so frustrated that only weeks after coming out of national lockdown we are going back into further restrictions. My heart goes out to all Londoners who will be feeling the impact of this, whether through ruined plans with family and friends or work grinding to a halt.
“With the virus once again spreading rapidly across our city, going into Tier Three has unfortunately become necessary. But it didn’t have to be this way. Make no mistake, the Government’s failure to get a proper test, trace and isolate system in place, along with the mess it’s made of public communications, are the reasons why we are where we are.
“Many businesses in London, especially in the hardest hit sectors like hospitality, will be wondering if they can afford to ever open again. The Government must rescue businesses that are at risk of going under through no fault of their own. They have worked incredibly hard and made costly adjustments to keep the public safe. They must be supported so that they can survive the winter.
“With the prospect of a new strain of coronavirus spreading faster than ever, mass testing becomes all the more essential. From day one of this crisis, the Government knew that test and trace would be key to opening up the economy and allowing people to live more freely. But it has continually failed to deliver a system that is up to scratch.
“In the capital, there is an alternative way forward on mass testing. The Government can put its trust in London’s scientific community, cut the red tape, and simply provide the funds for it to deliver decentralised testing at scale. Instead of jumping through Whitehall hoops, we can get testing centres set up rapidly in the places we need it most – from bus depots to schools.
“The vaccine rollout may have begun, but urgent action is still needed to protect Londoners’ lives and livelihoods. The Government must fix the test and trace mess and provide proper financial support to businesses and individuals to avoid more unnecessary job losses.”