My Lords, I speak in support of my noble friend Lord Stevenson of Balmacara. If the restrictions do not make sense, people will not follow them. The first time round they accepted them, as the noble Baroness, Lady Walmsley, said, because there was some trust that the Government knew what they were doing and that we would have a test and trace system second to none. We now realise that the Government are flip-flopping around on their policy and have a test and trace system that is the subject of a minefield of jokes.
The noble Lord talked about robust collaboration but said little about the vital importance of local government. The leaders of councils in the north have written to the Government to outline their plan, but the response has been dismissive and almost contemptuous. Why are the Government not listening to local government?
For some 16 years, I was a licensee in a students’ union, so I know a little bit about young people’s drinking habits. I appreciate that these regulations are a compromise by the Government to help the hospitality industry, but it is probably the worst of all worlds to have a 10 pm curfew. The Government have never offered a comprehensive explanation of the scientific evidence for cutting off trade at 10 pm. The noble Lord also talked about ensuring that business plays its part. The hospitality industry has played its part by ensuring social distancing and hygiene. Businesses need either to open or to be financially supported. The Government need to be clear.
Someone said on the radio this morning, “If a car drives round and round in circles, you change the driver.” That sums it up.