Leicester’s mayor has accused the Prime Minister of ‘dithering’ over the issue of a second national lockdown – and believes tougher restrictions will be in place for longer as a result.
Sir Peter Soulsby, who is a member of the Labour Party, said he backs the idea of a second lockdown, but believes it has come too late.
He told LeicestershireLive: “The Prime Minister has dithered and delayed and should have done this a couple of weeks back when the scientists advised it, rather than trying to introduce a tier system that has caused more controversy than it was worth.
“It will probably mean a longer lockdown, and that’s not what anyone wants, but a clear and concise message is much easier for everyone to understand and accept.”
Sir Peter said time had been wasted introducing measures in areas where rates were higher and drawing up a tier system that has since been scrapped to bring in the new national rules.
“We’ve had the picking out of individual areas in the way they picked out us earlier on,” he said. “Then we moved to the tier system which was always going to cause controversy and confusion, all of this was in an attempt to avoid what has now had to be done.”
The mayor did say that one element of the new lockdown could benefit the city.
“At least now we will get the same level of financial support as everywhere else, there is some consistency in that.
“When they picked on us for the local lockdown we didn’t get sufficient financial support and we also didn’t get what they said we would.
“Rows over what area gets what support have been another unnecessary distraction when we’ve ended up with a uniform approach in the end.”
The city council is working through what the announcement means for services it provides.
Leader of Leicestershire County Council, Nick Rushton, said that the authority remains committed to its responsibilities at this ‘worrying’ time.
He said: “We’re now working through what the national announcement means. We want to assess the full impact on services which are vital to residents.
“I know this is a worrying time for people, and supporting our residents through these continuing times of difficulty remains our absolute priority.
“I’m confident we will get through this, but it is down to all of us to follow the rules and drive down infection rates across the county.”
Information on the new national restrictions can be found here.