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Summary of some of the debate at the Liberal Autumn conference.

October 6, 2020 11:07 PM

Autumn Conference 2020 will be 100% virtualHow has the Covid-19 pandemic been for the UK? The story so far:

"Conference believes that it is becoming increasingly clear that the UK Government failed to prepare properly for a pandemic and has been slow to act; in particular conference believes that:

A. The level of testing was initially far too low and took too long to ramp up.

B. There was a failure to ensure adequate supplies of protective equipment reaching the frontline workers.

C. A shocking tragedy has unfolded in our care homes and Government claims to have put a 'protective ring' around the care sector ring hollow.

D. The much-vaunted 'world-beating' contact tracing app originally promised for mid-April will now not be ready until sometime 'during the winter'.

E. The Prime Minister has failed to communicate competently and created more confusion with his own behaviour, that of his advisors, and the lack of Government's plans.

F. Ministers failed to work hard enough to get four-nation agreement on many action points, which hampered communications, despite similar and shared problems on protective equipment, testing, care homes in all four nations.

G. There has also been a failure to take full advantage of the strengths of local government.

Conference condemns the decision of the Government to axe Public Health England in the middle of a pandemic with no clear plan on how to manage key health improvement functions. Conference deplores the top-down centralised testing system imposed by Whitehall, rather than harnessing existing expertise in local health teams and regional testing."

How will the story carry on? Will the Government stop their obsession with taking back control into the hands of a few people at No 10? Will they talk to the devolved governments and the local authorities? Or will they continue to rely on the 'master communicator' Boris Johnson to produce some optimistic phrases and a few jokes in Latin - and then fail to remember what the current policy is?