Local leadership key to public confidence in a local lockdown, says Sheffield business leader

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We are told a local lockdown is on the way, which, while predictable, would be another blow to the local economy already in slow recovery from the national one.

However, if it is going to be based on local intelligence and precautionary measures led by our local authorities, then while I would not welcome it, that would be preferable to one nationally imposed.

The lines of communication would be shorter and more acceptable, particularly with local accountability and control, and have a much better chance of gaining local confidence the measures being proposed were proportionate to the risks both to health and the economy.

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We have been fed nationally that all the current measures are based on science, while seeing discord up and down the country between local politicians and national agencies over both the relevance and application of local lockdowns.

Greg Fell, Sheffield director of public healthGreg Fell, Sheffield director of public health
Greg Fell, Sheffield director of public health

This discord is hardly likely to gain the confidence of the local population and act as a disincentive for them to accept more restrictions to their lives.

I, for one, would have more confidence if our own elected representatives, advised by Sheffield’s director of public health, oversee any new local lockdowns and communicate the rationale for it, together with local restrictions and putting in place adequate test-and-trace measures.

National agencies which have not inspired us with their performances on personal protective equipment and protecting care homes, coupled with often inadequate communications, are just not as immediately accessible and accountable as local politicians.

Such agencies can review and produce national intelligence/statistics, sharing best practice and crucially ensure adequate resources to provide the best equipment/testing equipment for local use, but for our politicians to allocate funds to alleviate financial hardship.

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Graham Moore, Westfield Health chairmanGraham Moore, Westfield Health chairman
Graham Moore, Westfield Health chairman

It is much easier to galvanise the key local stakeholders to work together to mitigate the effects of a another lockdown and review progress on remedial measures based on relevant intelligence and feedback .

I feel sure local cooperation would be forthcoming and all that would be required would be decisive local leadership and resources from government.

Sheffield has led the world on many things and this local management of the pandemic could set the model for others.

The local lockdown may not come, but if it does we have to look after our own.

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