The Yorkshire Party has criticised the Government for mismanaging the epidemic and claimed that devolved bodies in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have performed better. The Party has also criticised unequal furlough funding in the North.
Yorkshire Party leader, Bob Buxton, said: “The regional approach failed because England doesn’t have powerful regional devolution – mayors have little power. Instead, we had to rely on Boris Johnson, who blustered, dithered, delayed and gave northern regions lower furlough payments.”
“The second wave started to rise at the end of August, noticeably after the Government’s Eat out to help out initiative. The worst affected regions needed decisive action in August and proper financial support. Instead, the Government took until October to develop a three tier system and even then the measures were simply not enough to stop the spread.”
“To add insult, Northern workers on furlough were offered just 67% of their wages, whereas the whole country now has 80%. Why are northerners worth less to the Government?”
“The worst sin was ignoring the SAGE advice calling for an immediate circuit breaker lockdown. That was seven weeks ago, September 21st. Just like in March, they delayed, making it worse. They even kept the SAGE advice secret for three weeks. Why?”
“More have died. Lockdown will be longer. Civil liberties will be suspended for longer. The economy will suffer more. Long term economic damage inevitably costs lives.”
The Yorkshire Party has nevertheless urged people to obey the law: “Everyone must now play their part in the second lockdown and save lives. It’s not about what we think of the Tories, it’s about saving lives.”
Bob Buxton concluded: “We might look with envy at the superior records of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, as well as foreign nations with devolved regions, such as Germany. Yorkshire needs - all English regions need - powerful, properly funded devolution to recover in the years and decades ahead."