In response to the Prime Minister's announcement that the final step of the roadmap will be delayed until at least the 19th July, Cllr Georgia Gould, Chair of London Councils said:
“We are really concerned to see Covid-19 cases rising again across the city - the majority of boroughs now have case rates of more than 50 per 100,000 of the population. We must be vigilant to make sure we keep the freedoms we’ve all worked so hard to achieve.
“The latest announcement of a delay to the final step in the roadmap will be a disappointment for many, but we need to use this extra time to get everyone vaccinated so we can reopen knowing that our communities are protected from the virus.
“If you are aged 23 and over, please have your vaccine as soon as you can - it is free, safe and easy. There are several ways to get vaccinated - you can book an appointment online, attend large scale vaccination events or attend a walk-in clinic where you do not need to book. Contact your local borough or NHS for details of what is available near you. If you have questions about the vaccine, speak to your GP or another medical professional.
“We must also continue to remember the basics – wearing a mask in busy and indoor spaces, washing our hands frequently and getting tested regularly.
“Boroughs will dig deep to protect and support all our communities across the capital, drawing strength from the resilience they have shown over the past year. We will also be clear with national Government and others that more resources will be needed to deliver vital local services and support businesses struggling to survive in this final push before restrictions end. Our asks include:
• Extending the 100 per cent business rates holiday and the business evictions moratorium beyond the end of June.
• Confirming a short-term extension to the existing furlough scheme, with employers not having to contribute more to the scheme from next month as previously planned
• Urgent confirmation of the funding allocation and guidance for the additional £1.5bn business rates relief announced in March for supply chains and other in-directly impacted firms.
• An additional targeted one-off grant to directly impacted firms, such as those in the hospitality and culture and creative sectors, and ensuring that boroughs receive their Additional Restrictions Grant top-ups quickly to ensure that they can make uninterrupted discretionary payments to firms.
“The light at the end of the tunnel is in sight. Thank you to all Londoners for the strength and kindness you’ve shown in looking after one another throughout the pandemic. Although the delay in the complete lifting of restrictions is not the news we wanted, it is especially important we look out for one another in these final weeks."