Support from the government has actually been very good
Cllr Michael Maurice (Cons), Kenton ward
- Credit: PA
It’s almost a year since the UK and indeed the globe was placed into lockdown and which for so many people, life has changed forever.
Prime minster Boris Johnson and his government have brought in measures to try and mitigate the losses to as many people as possible. Very quickly, the Treasury put together packages to help businesses, people and local authorities deal with the pandemic.
I’m sure that the government will admit that it didn’t always get it right. Mistakes have been made and lessons, sometimes hard lessons have been learnt. I personally think lockdown restrictions should have started earlier and that our borders should have been sealed from the start.
I think the government could have done more to help some businesses such as those who supply the hospitality industry, but because they are not in that industry don’t qualify for grants.
I would like to have seen those businesses and stores, especially the multiples, which remained open throughout, made to pay their business rates in full. It seems unfair that people who started new jobs just before lockdown and those who started new businesses or became self employed in the 12 months preceding this don’t qualify for help.
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Many businesses have failed, unemployment has increased. I feel dreadfully sorry for all those who are now out of work, I hope you find work as soon as possible.
Contrary to what others have said, the support from the government has been very good. This has also been confirmed by senior council officers. The government have met around 75 - 80 per cent of the costs of Covid to the council.
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When the pandemic started, our government invested in and made funding available so that designing and manufacturing a vaccine quickly was possible. At the time of writing, we have vaccinated around 13pc of the population. It is because the UK is no longer a member of the EU that we have managed to vaccinate more people than most of the countries in Western Europe put together.
Brent has played its part, opening centres so that we can all get vaccinated. I’m proud that the Kingsbury Swaminaryan Temple is the first temple in the world to become a vaccination centre.
Beating the virus requires all of us to play our part. I’m glad that the fines given to those who think the rules don’t apply to them have increased. Nobody is safe unless and until everyone is safe.
These past few weeks have proved far more difficult for many than the first lockdown. The shorter days and colder weather has brought many people to the verge of breakdown.
Please stay well and safe.
- Michael Maurice (Con) is councillor for Kenton ward.