I was just about to go on to say that the Government’s current stance is costing jobs and leading to reduced business confidence. If we continue as we are, without taking control of the public health situation, we will see a worse situation for jobs and businesses in our country. It appears that that will be the only intervention that I will receive.
It is clear that blocking a circuit breaker does not make sense for the health of our population or for our economy. Government Members need a reality check. One in four people in our country are subject to localised restrictions. We have already experienced a record rise in quarterly redundancies. Without action, we face the prospect of infections rising yet again, with more and more areas coming under localised restrictions and the Government eventually being forced into more national restrictions in any case. Every week of that inaction will hit business and consumer confidence, costing more jobs and livelihoods, with more businesses going to the wall. The question is not whether we can afford a circuit breaker. The question is whether we can afford to continue with a Government who duck taking hard choices until they are forced into them and who seem unable to stand apart from their chaotic lurching from week to week to assess what our country needs and take decisive action.
That circuit break must be used to fix test and trace, devolving it to local areas, so that we can protect our NHS, get control of the virus and start building economic confidence back up again, and it must be accompanied by support for jobs and businesses. We stand ready to work with the Government to ensure that that is put in place, so that no one is pushed into poverty for doing the right thing.