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Lambeth Council urged: end dangerous rush to lift local lockdown

BAME groups will be hit hardest if council follows the Government and not the science, say Green councillors

Green councillors have warned Lambeth council about its dangerous rush to lift local lockdown and that it was not showing the caution displayed by many other councils.

The warning came at last night’s virtual meeting of the full council.

Citing Lambeth Council’s drive to open up its schools, the beginning of the demolition of Olive Morris House in the middle of lockdown and the rushing through of both its Business Plan and “consultations” to demolish estates, Green Party councillors warned that the council's drive to return to business as usual sent entirely the wrong signal.

They also pointed to this week’s report from Public Health England that highlighted how members of BAME communities would continue to be disproportionately hit, particularly in the event of a “second wave” of the virus.

Cllr Jonathan Bartley, Green co-leader of the official opposition on Lambeth Council said: “The council acknowledges that a workable test, trace and isolate system still isn’t up and running.  It also recognises the disproportionate impact of the virus on Lambeth’s BAME communities.  So why is it leading the charge to lift lockdown? The council should be following the science not the Government.

“This is the moment when the council should show leadership. The rush to return to business as usual sends entirely the wrong signal at a critical moment. Other local authorities have paused non-critical projects and focused all their resources on tackling the virus and supporting vulnerable residents. They have also taken a stand and said that schools should not be opened more widely until the number of deaths comes down further (1). This is a moment when Lambeth Council should be taking a stand too.”

 

(1)  Liverpool council said that no pupils other than vulnerable and key worker children should go back to school “before June 15 at the very earliest”. Bury, Calderdale, Hartlepool, Redbridge, Sefton, Stockport all advised schools not to reopen more widely.