Covid-19: Cultural and Entertainment Sectors

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:02 pm on 2nd March 2021.

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Photo of John Spellar John Spellar Labour, Warley 6:02 pm, 2nd March 2021

I want to refocus the debate slightly—on to the public, and the fundamental fact that the public want to get out and have fun. They have been cooped up for the best part of a year, even though many have still been going to work. Now, as spring approaches, they want to get out and enjoy themselves, and good luck to them, I say. They want to get out, let their hair down a bit and enjoy themselves. I would say that they want to get back to merrie England, if I could get that past Patrick Grady; I hope he understands that I encompass the good folk of Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in that. This applies across all age groups.

We have to reset the balance of the debate. Of course, health concerns are crucial, but so are jobs, businesses and the economy. Like many of their customers, a large part of the workforce are young, and the closure of the industry is one of the drivers of the huge spike in youth unemployment. Unemployment leads not only to deprivation, but to sickness and premature death. Jobs, jobs, jobs really matter. The balance has to shift from whether we open up the sector and the related sectors of hospitality, sport and exercise to how we open them up. I shall coin a phrase, if I may: be driven by the data and not by dates.