Notion of a 'critical worker' being defined too broadly, warns psychology expert

12 January 2021, 16:32

Notion of a 'critical worker' being defined too broadly, warns psychology expert
Notion of a 'critical worker' being defined too broadly, warns psychology expert. Picture: PA/LBC

By Sam Sholli

The notion of a 'critical worker' is being defined too broadly by the Government, a psychology expert has suggested.

Stephen Reicher, a Professor of Psychology at the University of St Andrews, made the remark to LBC's Shelagh Fogarty.

Professor Reicher, who also sits on the Scientific Pandemic Insights Group on Behaviours (SPI-B) advisory group to Sage, said the Covid rules are "themselves too flexible".

He said: "It seems that the reason people are out and about isn't that they are breaking the rules. It's that they're following rules which, to some extent, are themselves too flexible.

"So yes, if you do stop people and ask them why they're out and about, what you find is that the major reason is that they're going to work.

"And we've defined the notion of 'essential worker' [or] 'critical worker' [or] 'key worker' so broadly that it includes all sorts of people who I don't think we would see as critical..."

He added: "And so all sorts of people are on public transport. All sorts of people are going in and out of each other's houses...because of the ways in which the rules are drawn."