As I said in the Chamber two weeks ago, it goes against every bone in the body to impose restrictions on livelihoods and curtail people’s freedoms. I want to use my two minutes to talk about the next steps.
The whole Government have done a fantastic job supporting people and businesses throughout this unprecedented crisis, but grants and financial support can be no substitute for our businesses being open. From speaking to many businesses across Keighley and Ilkley, it is clear that a number of them relish the opportunity to stand on their own feet again. Therefore, as the country unlocks, it is vital that decisions are taken on the basis of risk and past evidence of risk, not on pre-conceived ideas.
I will focus on two types of businesses in particular. First, as a result of the enhanced local restrictions put in place in my constituency at the end of July, gyms and fitness and dance studios did not open at the start of September—indeed they were among the last to open in the UK. However, they have proved to be some of the safest places to visit. Therefore, beyond
Finally, I turn to non-essential retail and services such as the hair and beauty sector who have also been asked to close. My constituency is home to a wealth of independent shops, which are the backbone of the local economy. We must give those businesses the opportunity to open again, because they have spent so much money on becoming covid-secure. The answer is: yes, let us get those businesses back open to get our economy running.