The County Councils Network have released a statement regarding England’s 3rd national lockdown, announced last night (04 Jan) by the Prime Minister.
The restrictions, which override the tiered approach that the Government had taken before the new year, mean that schools will have to close their doors to all but children of key workers and vulnerable children.
A-level and GCSE exams will be cancelled as a knock-on consequence of this, with Ofqual – the Government’s qualifications, exams and tests regulator – deciding the best way of measuring attainment for this academic year.
Cllr David Williams, chairman of the County Councils Network, said:
“Today’s announcement of a third national lockdown is disappointing for the country, but with confirmed case numbers rising so fast there are very few avenues left for the government. We have seen the seriousness of this issue play out in England’s counties over the last four weeks with cases rising by over 325,000: an increase of 163%.
“Everyone must continue to play their part if we are once again to bring case numbers down and councils will continue to support communities and the most vulnerable through this latest lockdown.
“It is imperative that local areas are given further targeted support for local businesses, with many still reeling from having to close for months last year. It is also important that the government recognises that further funding for councils will be required, particularly in delivering additional support to care homes and providers.”
The rules are due to be reviewed on February 15th, which the Government hopes will give them enough time to have a significant portion of vulnerable and elderly people vaccinated as spaces on intensive care units begin to dwindle.
Another support package of £9,000 per property has been announced by the Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, to help businesses through this next stage of the pandemic.