9 February 2021
What is Talking Points?
Cambridge News asks a representative of each local political party to answer a question on a local issue in just 300 words. The answers are then published in the physical copy of the Cambridge News every week. Here, we share our response to the question.
Today's question: How important do you think it was for the government to extend powers to local councils to continue imposing lockdown restrictions until July 17? How do you envisage these powers being used over the next six months?
As Greens we support localism and therefore welcome the extension of powers to Councils to continue imposing lockdown restrictions until July. The rapid changes seen mean we cannot be certain what will happen - but there is great sense in having the power to do what is needed in the circumstances that we might be in. We should be wary, however, of a less than competent central government trying to shift the blame for failing to act in time.
Vaccination plays an important role in reducing how many people might get COVID, but we will continue to need other measures as well: social distancing and less contact with others including isolation when necessary.
There will need to have balanced judgment on difficult issues – when and how can we see our parents in Care Homes? When or in what form could the Corn Exchange or Arts Theatre open, or the Folk Festival take place? When could we go to our local restaurant? Decisions need to be based on applying local knowledge with guidance – if we see the open air market on our doorstep, allowed to open in national guidance, we should try to take a wise step forward rather than a step back.
We need recognise that the actions taken have consequences - on mental health and on financial position.
As the Green Party we support the use of science in recognising and helping understand the problem. We all need to take action ourselves and as communities that we live in. There’s also the recognition that not everything is local, there are national actions required and partnership with our neighbours. The problem is across the world and needs measures across the world to stop what is happening. And that could have been about COVID, or climate change, or both.
Our response was written by Richard Potter. Richard has lived in Cambridge for the last 27 years. He has worked for Cambridgeshire County Council, the Office for National Statistics and the Civil Service in roles to provide information on which policy decisions can be made, work he still does. He has a commitment to fairness in a world we can live in.