Two-week national lockdown imposed in Wales

By Sian Jones Lockdown, not lockstep, was the order of the day when Wales’ First Minister, Mark Drakeford, announced a two-week national shutdown in Wales – a policy thus far rejected by Boris Johnson’s Westminster Government.  Apparently anxious to create a clear dividing line with not just the policies, but the language, of his UK…

Lockdown redux, smoother waters but a brewing storm

By Simon Gentry , Public Affairs Matt Hancock MP, the Secretary of State for Health, came to the Commons today to announce what millions had been fearing, a move to Tier 2 and in some cases Tier 3 for communities in England.  At the urging of its Mayor, Sadiq Khan, London will go into Tier 2…

Rumours of a revolution

By Simon Gentry, Public Affairs It began on Twitter, of course.  Ignited by the usual suspects, those Tory MPs who’d define themselves as Libertarian, who had always been sceptical about government radically restricting people’s freedom.  But it’s spreading now and it’s spreading quickly, almost like a virus.  In this case it’s not a virus, it’s the argument that…

The policy and politics of lockdown

By Gareth Jones, Public Affairs Developments in Westminster today have been dominated by further questions over whether a “circuit breaker” lockdown should be introduced in England in the coming weeks to bring the virus under control. At Prime Minister’s Questions today, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer again called for a short, limited lockdown, in line…

Perspectives on life under Covid from around the Kingdom

SEC Newgate colleagues have given their thoughts on how the latest Government announcements are affecting their region. We have views from Northern Ireland, Wales, Scotland, and North West England. The view from BelfastBy Austyn Close Things seem to only get bleaker as we edge closer and closer to Christmas. Reports lay out that over the…

Ministers vs scientists, economy vs health

By Tim Le Couilliard, Public Affairs There have been numerous mantras throughout this pandemic – “stay at home”, “protect the NHS”, “Hands, Face, Space”, and so on. For a while, we could not watch a government briefing without hearing the pledge “we are following the science.” It appears, however, that is now over. The government…

Who pays for Lockdown?

By Adam Lloyd, Capital Markets The economic impact of the lockdown has been profound with the unemployment rate growing to 4.5% in the three months to August. According to the ONS, an estimated 1.5 million people were unemployed between June and August and the outlook is looking pretty grim with some forecasts suggesting that unemployment…

Is the North of England set to follow Scotland’s lead on closing pubs?

By Gareth Jones, Public Affairs The government appeared to confirm speculation today that pubs and restaurants across the north of England would be facing closure, or at least severe restrictions, in the immediate future. Speaking to the media this morning, Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick did not rule out pub closures and said that new measures…

I’m travelling to save the world

By Simon Gentry I’m just back from a fantastic long weekend in Venice.  There were no crowds, the flight was inexpensive and the hotel – with a view directly onto the Grand Canal – was hugely discounted. Some people are a bit cross with me for travelling, believing that I’m irresponsible for doing something that…

Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t

By Simon Gentry, Public Affairs With the average of new COVID-19 cases at around 14,000 per day and the number of hospital admissions creeping up, the Prime Minister is under intense political pressure from the medical community to re-impose nationwide lockdown rules. He’s also under pressure from local authorities who’ve had local lockdowns imposed on…