Heaven help us all, as almost three in five councillors say it should be up to councils to decide whether areas are placed in local lockdown rather than Whitehall, amid tensions with the government over the hasty introduction of tier four restrictions in some areas.
Just take a look at the state of our roads, flooded communities, planning decisions, here in West Lancashire and imagine which of our elected members has any clue about the Covid-19?
A YouGov poll of 549 councillors across the country found that 58% think responsibility for deciding local lockdowns should lie with councils while 32% believe it should rest with central government. A further 9% say someone else should decide.
The results varied on party political lines, with three quarters of Labour councillors 73% saying it should be up to councils while 50% of Conservative councillors favour councils holding the responsibility. The survey findings come at a time of frustration in some areas from local council leaders over being placed in tier four.
Gosport BC’s leader Mark Hook (Con) told the BBC he has written to the government for an explanation of the decision to put his area into tier four, saying he “can’t understand” it when neighbouring areas remain in tier two, while Portsmouth City Council leader Gerald Vernon-Jackson (Lib Dem) said they were given “no warning” and had not been told anything about how prevalent the new strain is in Portsmouth.
Furthermore, 50% of councillors in the survey believe the government has “not paid much attention to councils’ concerns” during the pandemic – rising to 89% of Labour councillors – with a further 12% of councillors saying the government has not paid any attention at all to their anxieties.
In contrast, 26% feel the government has been fairly attentive, while 12% said their concerns had received a lot attention. However, the research also found that a majority, 56% of councillors feel supported by the government during the pandemic to either some 36% or a great 20% extent with only 10% feeling “not at all supported”.
Perhaps WLBC might tell us if our councillors took part in this survey and if so who voted how?