Having said that I am very suspicious of the plans "Local lockdowns" will be introduced to tackle regional outbreaks of coronavirus in England, which seems like a move to shift responsibility from Boris Johnsons Pisspoor management of the corona virus.
Matt Hancock suggested restrictions will be introduced in areas with "flare-ups", but not others, as part of a system being put in place.
He did not specify a timeframe, but said the measures will be part of the test, track and trace system.
The government's daily coronavirus briefing on Tuesday was dominated by questions about Dominic Cummings travelling to County Durham during lockdown.
But concerns were also raised about the potential for second waves of infections. Asked what tools will be given to local officials to tackle outbreaks, Mr Hancock said: "We will have local lockdowns in future where there are flare-ups."
"We have a system that we're putting in place with a combination of Public Health England and the new Joint Biosecurity Centre, along with the local directors of public health who play an absolutely crucial role in the decision-making in the system."
Under government plans to ease lockdown restrictions, the Joint Biosecurity Centre will identify changes in infection rates - using testing, environmental and workplace data - and advise chief medical officers.
As a result, schools, businesses or workplaces could be closed in areas that see spikes in infection rates, the government's plan says.
Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said if the system worked it would be used "on quite a micro level"."If there is a flare-up in one particular community - and that could be on quite a small scale like a particular workplace or school - then measures can be introduced which hopefully the public will get behind, enable us to control the virus in that locality and enable the rest of the population to have more freedom to go about their daily business," he told BBC Breakfast.
Earlier this month Mr Jenrick said that it was the government's "strong preference" for lockdown measures to be lifted uniformly, but some restrictions could be reintroduced locally if necessary.
But he said the local interventions that could be considered are "quite different from makingAlso speaking during Tuesday's briefing, Prof John Newton, leader of the government's Covid-19 testing programme, said "many different organisations", including councils and local businesses, will be involved in the response to local outbreaks."It is a whole-country effort. It has a national component, but it has a very important local component as well, which needs to reflect... the special characteristics of different parts of the country," he said. major changes to lockdown measures in one part of the country versus another".
The first question is what will constitute a "Region"
Devolution In Wales and Scotland has seen organised through 22 and 32 unitary authorities respectively in addition there are a number of community
But in England
There are 126 'single tier' authorities, which all function as billing authorities for Council Tax and local education authorities:
- 56 unitary authorities
- 36 metropolitan boroughs
- 32 London boroughs
- The Common Council of the City of London
- The Council of the Isles of Scilly
There are 31 'upper tier' authorities. The non-metropolitan counties function as local education authorities:
- 25 non-metropolitan counties
- 6 metropolitan counties (councils abolished in 1986)
There are 188 'lower tier' authorities, which all have the function of billing authority for Council Tax:
There are in total 339 principal councils, including the Corporation of London and the Council of the Isles of Scilly, but not the Inner Temple and Middle Temple, the last two of which are also local authorities for some purposes
This means a split in the powers
|Arrangement||Upper tier authority||Lower tier authority|
|Non-metropolitan counties/Non-metropolitan districts||waste management, education, libraries, social services, transport, strategic planning, consumer protection, police, fire||housing, waste collection, council tax collection, local planning, licensing, cemeteries and crematoria|
|housing, waste management, waste collection, council tax collection, education, libraries, social services, transport, planning, consumer protection, licensing, cemeteries and crematoria†, police and fire come under shire councils|
|Metropolitan boroughs||housing, waste collection, council tax collection, education, libraries, social services, transport, planning, consumer protection, licensing, police, fire, cemeteries and crematoria†|
|Greater London/London boroughs||transport, strategic planning, regional development, police, fire||housing, waste collection, council tax collection, education, libraries, social services, local planning, consumer protection, licensing, cemeteries and crematoria†|
|Combined authorities/constituent authorities||transport, economic development, regeneration & various (depends on devolution deal)||Dependent on type and combined authority arrangement|
So who will be responsible for any local lockdown in England?
Not only that will the "English" government give financial support to Regions that need to reintroduce such local lockdowns?
It was not that long ago that the "English" Prime Minister was calling for a Four Nations response to the virus , which was in fact that the devolved legislatures automatically follow his lead (over the cliff).
But now as Johnson desperately wants to get his pole rating back he seems to want start ending the lockdown early and then shifting the responsibility to some concept of an English Region if it all goes wrong.
Giving the decline in local Media and Johnson failing to point out his lifting of restrictions does not apply to Wales and Scotland ("Boris told us it was OK"), it looks like local lockdowns cannot work unless it is clearly thought out.