Nottinghamshire local authority leaders 'left in the dark' over lockdown

It has been a week of uncertainty about the upcoming lockdown in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire.

By Kit Sandeman
Monday, 12th October 2020, 10:43 am

Local leaders say they have been left in the dark by the Government, and that Nottingham has been ‘abandoned’ at a time when cases are increasing rapidly.

Public health officials were first told to expect new restrictions from Friday, October 9.

But then leaked documents on Thursday revealed the new restrictions would not be confirmed until Monday, and would not come into effect until Wednesday, October 14.

Government chief whip and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer confirmed new restrictions for Nottinghamshire would not come into place until October 14. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

This has since been confirmed by the Government’s chief whip – and Sherwood MP – Mark Spencer.

It means despite having the highest rates in the country, Nottingham did not have any additional restrictions over the weekend – a fact which troubled several local leaders.

The north east and Liverpool, which have local restrictions in place, have lower rates than Nottingham city, which has recorded more than 1,600 cases in the last week.

The directors of public health in both city and county have urged people not to wait for the Government, but to start following stricter rules immediately.

Throughout the week, there has been no official communication from the Government about when – or even whether – new restrictions would come into force.

The Local Democracy Reporting service has put 11 key questions to the Government in a bid to inform readers in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire about how the situation will affect their lives.

The Government has not responded to any of the questions.

Here are the questions we asked on your behalf:

1. Why are restrictions not being brought in until Monday, when Nottingham has the highest rates in the country?

2. Is there any clinical or scientific evidence supporting the decision to delay an announcement?

3. By how much does the Government expect cases to rise during the period in which there are no new restrictions?

4. Will the Government be advising people previously asked to shield to begin shielding again?

5. Will the Government be advising against non-essential travel?

6. Will people be allowed to travel in and out of the city for non-essential reasons?

7. The measures are expected to be the same across the city and the county. Can the Government advise as to why, when the rates are vastly different in the city than they are in the county?

8. The current expectation is that Nottingham and Nottinghamshire be moved into tier two, despite having the worst rates in the country – can you explain why Nottingham is not being moved into tier three (the most severe restrictions)?

9. Given that one area of Nottingham (University Park, Lenton Abbey and Jubilee Campus) has around a third (546) of Nottingham’s cases (1,620 in the week to October 4), why is that area not being placed in tier three?

10. Local leaders have said the Government effectively sanctioned ‘one last weekend’ of seeing people before Christmas – how do you respond to this?

11. Local leaders have also said Nottingham is being ‘hung out to dry’ and ‘abandoned’ as restrictions were due to be announced on Friday, October 9 ahead of the weekend – how would you respond to this?

No response from the Government has been received.