Covid-19

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:41 pm on 18th November 2020.

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Photo of David Simmonds David Simmonds Conservative, Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner 6:41 pm, 18th November 2020

Thank you for your flexibility in managing the timetable, Madam Deputy Speaker. I have two points that I will try to make in two minutes. The first is for those constituents who are bearing the lockdown with a great deal of patience and fortitude but who have concerns about the policy approach. I urge Ministers to share the data we have as widely as possible. I understand that the quality-adjusted life year measure that is standard for medical treatments in the NHS is not directly relevant to public health, but the more we can explain and demonstrate the value of this lockdown in preserving our economy and people’s wellbeing so that we come out of the period in good shape, the more confidence the lockdown will command. We should treat that as an urgent task, because people bear these measures with patience and fortitude—I think when history looks back on this time we will regard them as proportionate—but none the less we need to ensure that they feel willing to comply with them.

Secondly, I pay a big tribute to all those in the children’s sector who have ensured that nurseries, schools and childcare settings have remained open so that key workers and—vitally—working parents can keep doing their jobs. However, a challenge I am conscious of that affects businesses such as Jungle Monkeyz and Jurassic Perk in my constituency and many others around the country is the fate of soft play centres and other venues for children. They are closed at the moment, and recognise that the market will be there for them when they seek to reopen, but they are concerned about cash flow and any impact on the jobs of the people they employ. Therefore, when Ministers look at the financial support provided to all kinds of businesses, may I ask them to recognise how the wellbeing of working parents and children is supported by those businesses’ activities and that they seek to ensure that an appropriate degree of priority is given to them in the financial measures available in local areas?