Thank you for emailing me about coronavirus regulations. I share many of the concerns you raise.
On 25 March, I voted against extending the lockdown and against renewing the Coronavirus Act 2020 for a further six months. While lockdown was a proportionate measure in January, when thousands of people were dying every day, the success of the Government’s vaccination programme and the significant decline in the number of cases, hospitalisations, and deaths no longer justifies intrusive restrictions. There is certainly no need for the Government to retain emergency powers into September, when everyone should have been offered a vaccine.
There seems to be a general misconception that maintaining the coronavirus restrictions is the safest thing to do. On the contrary, the volume of urgent casework I have received regarding employment, housing, education, and mental health has increased significantly since the pandemic began. Although the Government's economic support has been unprecedented, not every problem caused by forced closures can be solved, and companies will become insolvent in their thousands. This will mean people will lose their jobs and reduce taxation revenue, which means that the NHS, among other institutions, will receive less public funding than if trading could continue. Elective surgeries and routine checks have been cancelled, which means more people will die of preventable cancers in the next few years than would have had there been fewer restrictions. I consider that England could now exit lockdown more quickly than the Government plan without unnecessary excess deaths from coronavirus.