It's been a busy week with the Chancellor's Spending Review at the heart of it. This allocated funding to government departments for the year from March 2021.
This week I focused on a report from the National Audit Office that called out the Government's approach to contracting during the first stage of the COVID-19 crisis. There was a lack of transparency, poor or non-existent record-keeping, and a failure to safeguard against conflicts of interest. I'll be investigating with the Public Accounts Committee in December. Click here to read the report in full.
This week we received good news about the early promising signs of a vaccine that could help tackle the COVID-19 virus.
If the vaccine is successful, it is vital the Government grapples with the key logistical challenge of ensuring enough doses are successfully rolled out across the UK at speed. I challenged the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, about his plans for this (see here) and I will continue pressing the Government to get this right.
The Government’s sudden and chaotic lockdown announcement last weekend has dominated parliamentary discussion and debate this week.
Weeks ago Keir Starmer called for a shorter, circuit break lockdown over half term. Instead we are locked down again until 2 December. The Government’s economic planning has been inadequate, with the announcement of the furlough scheme extension made within hours of its planned end. The announcement came too late for those already made redundant.
Yesterday the Chancellor announced a new last minute package of economic support. This is his third major economic announcement in under a month – his original Winter Economic Plan has not even survived to the winter.
See my weekly round up for my take on the Government’s testing fiasco and the impact on Hackney. People have been turned away from the two walk-in centres in the borough. The Secretary of State undertook to look into the matter. The Government needs to get to grips with this quickly; it’s critical, particularly with a second wave looming.