Government must listen to authorities when imposing local lockdowns: Leeds Council leader

26 September 2020, 11:35 | Updated: 26 September 2020, 13:55

By Seán Hickey

The leader of Leeds Council told LBC that local authorities must be trusted by central government to come up with effective measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 in their area.

Councillor Judith Blake told Matt Frei that her office "talk very closely and regularly" to Downing Street about how and when restrictions come into place in their area.

The leader of Leeds City Council went on to state that as Leeds is set to go into local lockdown, it is her duty to "communicate the restrictions to the people of Leeds," despite the fact that the measures are "a government intervention."

Ms Blake made the case for local authorities having more of a say in the restrictions that are imposed on areas.

Matt prodded her, noting that authorities are "having to haggle with the central government" to see what is the best solution for their area as coronavirus cases rise.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify

The councillor said that in Leeds City Council there is a real concern going into winter, warning that "the impact on people's mental health could be, and already is really quite profound."

This, she felt is something her office could tackle and rectify better than central government.

"The government need to listen to us more," she said.

"Local authorities know much more about how to deal with situations in our local area than we're given credit for, we need more local testing, more capacity to do things at a local level."

Ms Blake argued that if government give authorities these powers, they can work with people in their local communities "to come up with measures that really will work."