Lord Digby Jones: Time has come to put economy before public health

Monday, June 1, 2020

Cross-bench peer Lord Digby Jones has said the “moment has come” to speed up the easing of coronavirus lockdown to limit the economic impact of the pandemic.

Speaking to talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer, the former director general of the Confederation of British Industry said it was time the country’s finances were put first.

He said: “Politicians will never say it because there are not votes in it, but they will have to put the economic health of the country ahead of the public health of the country.

“At some point there is not going to be enough money generated to pay for schools and hospitals and everything else if the country doesn’t start getting back to work big time.”

It comes as tentative steps to relax the Covid-19 restrictions were taken today, with certain school year groups returning to the classroom and some non-essential outdoor retailers opening their doors once again.

However, Labour's Andy Burnham has criticised the government for executing the changes too quickly.

The Greater Manchester Mayor told Julia: “We’ve been told all along that the test and trace system is fundamental to this, that we have to have that in place to keep a grip on the virus at local level, and the fact is it isn’t in place and therefore I think this is premature.”

The NHS Test and Trace scheme was launched on May 28 but concerns have been raised that it will not be operational at a local level until the end of June.

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