Angela Rayner: Government's 'catastrophic failures' worsened pandemic's impact on UK

19 September 2020, 11:33

Angela Rayner on government's Covid-19 response

By Seán Hickey

Labour's Deputy Leader branded the UK's attitude to the pandemic 'reckless' and believes this has led to the UK being affected worse than our European neighbours.

Deputy Leader of the Labour Party Angela Rayner told Andrew Castle that the hint from Number 10 that there could be "circuit break" strategy taken to quell the spread of coronavirus is a reflection of the failed strategy of the Government to date.

"We're looking at more drastic measures now because the government has failed to get systems in place," she said, going on to tell Andrew that the UK's track and trace system has been less than satisfactory.

While being pushed on the topic of furlough, the MP for Ashton under Lyne told Andrew that there needs to be exemptions made for businesses and workers that are placed in local lockdown.

"We'll come out of this crisis with an even bigger economic crisis," Ms Rayner warned, adding that "we need to be supporting those businesses to remain viable," and the best way to do this is to provide support for people who find themselves in a situation outside of their control.

The Labour Deputy Leader branded the UK&squot;s pandemic response "catastrophic"
The Labour Deputy Leader branded the UK's pandemic response "catastrophic". Picture: PA

When Andrew wondered how the Labour Deputy Leader rated Boris Johnson's coronavirus response, she told him that in her view "the Prime Minister has been dithering," and as a result of that "lives have been lost."

She pointed out that there has been an estimated 15,000 excess deaths in care homes as a result of the pandemic and she saw it as falling at the feet of Government.

Andrew defended the PM, insisting that "Boris Johnson does not have an easy job at the moment." Ms Rayner agreed.

Although tasked with a difficult situation, the Labour MP insisted that "the government have made catastrophic failures through this," mentioning that the WHO told the UK to "get on top" of the spread of the virus before reopening, and not doing so has led to more drastic measures being contemplated.

"I think some of the Government's failures have made it worse for us, we've had the highest death tolls in Europe and we're facing one of the worst recessions," Ms Rayner argued.

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