Why are the sectors on the 'let off list' all about food and nothing for faith?

23 July 2021, 08:25

EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

Nick Ferrari confronts Environment Secretary George Eustice over why religious leaders are not on the 'pingdemic exempt list.'

"The sectors that are on this so-called 'let off list' have a lot to do with food why nothing to do with faith?"

Nick asked the Secretary of State why there was no provision for members of the clergy to be exempted from quarantine requirements.

The conversation comes after the government said employees providing critical services would only be able to keep working and avoid self-isolation after being identified as a contact if they were named on a list kept updated by officials.

Mr Eustice said the government would "never, ever take risks with the food supply chain."

Yesterday we reported that many shoppers were seeing empty shelves amid warnings from retail bosses over the impact of the 'pingdemic'.

Nick Ferrari again pressed the government representative, asking "why are vicars, and rabbis, and imams not on the list?"

"Well faith is important," Mr Eustice said before Nick Ferrari broke in.

"Not to your government, it's not, because it's not on the list of 16 sectors."

"Your government does not respect faith, does it Mr Eustice?"

But the Environment Secretary said he did not accept Nick's comments.

"They're not on the list as key workers," Mr Eustice said

Nick hit back, "I would say they're pretty key, don't you."

But the Environment Secretary said they were not the same as "someone working in the food industry getting food on people's plates."

The exemptions - mainly in 16 sectors including essential transport, the emergency services and energy industry - will allow people identified as contacts by NHS Test and Trace or the app to carry on working if their failure to do so would have a "major detrimental impact" or risk national security.

The policy only applies to named workers who are fully vaccinated and it is not a "blanket exemption" for all employees in a sector - for instance, while railway signal operators on whom the network depends may be given an exemption, individual train drivers are unlikely to be.