A number of constituents have contacted me regarding my vote to extend the Coronavirus Act.
I should first start by clarifying that extending the Coronavirus Act to September by no means extends lockdown until September. Whilst the Act does contain some restrictive powers such as measures pertaining to public protest and test, trace and isolate rules, the powers that allow the Government to restrict social contact and enforce measures such as face coverings in shops are not derived from this Act, but from the Public Health (Control of Disease) Act 1984. These measures will, of course, be removed as we emerge from lockdown.
The upside from the extension of the Coronavirus Act is that it continues the support mechanisms that help businesses and families stay afloat throughout the pandemic, including furlough and statutory sick pay. These benefits are designed to last until September, hence the powers continue before the proposed end to lockdown in June – providing the public health situation continues improving and there is no serious new threat from new mutant COVID strains.
I would rather the restrictive elements of the Act ended when the Prime Minister’s roadmap takes us out of lockdown. However, I voted for the extension as I see the benefits in the support and will be keeping the Prime Minister to his own timetable.
I encourage you to watch this video which explains why I decided to vote to extend the Coronavirus Act until September a little further.