Council Leader responds to new restrictions for Kirklees
Councillor Shabir Pandor, Leader of Kirklees Council, says he is seeking urgent answers from Government following last night’s announcement but urges local people to stay safe and follow the new guidance.
Late last night, the government announced new restrictions for 4 million people in the North of England, including everyone in Kirklees. Read more on what they mean for Kirklees.
Councillor Pandor said: “There are many questions to be answered by Government about their announcement last night. The timing of it, the confusion it has caused and the logic behind it all remain unclear.
“I am seeking answers to those questions as a matter of the utmost urgency but my message to residents right now is to please follow this guidance, as I know you will.
“However, I cannot pretend to ignore the feelings thousands of residents in Kirklees will have towards this decision. From the families with children who were looking forward to sharing time in Eid with their loved ones, to those who were looking forward to getting together over a warm weekend with friends and family.
“The timing of this was insensitive, but I also cannot see a clear rationale for this decision now, as our infection rate figures have been coming down over the last few weeks. It feels as though Kirklees has been singled without any reasonable or solid evidence base and many have told me we are being treated totally unfairly.
“We deserve answers and I will hold Government to account on this, because people across Kirklees have made many sacrifices in the past few months and we are now being asked to make more. But if that’s what it takes to save lives, I know that local people will once again step up and do the right thing for their families, friends, their neighbours and community.
“For many people in our community, Eid al-Adha celebrations have now begun. As we expected, Eid will be very different. But it now means people will not be able to visit each other’s homes as part of those celebrations. This will be a shock to many people who have been preparing to celebrate safely and I understand how hard this will be for you and how frustrated you will feel. I am frustrated for everyone in Kirklees who will be affected by this. Our greatest strength in Kirklees is our unity and we will need to draw on that togetherness to get through this quickly and safely.
“I will be talking with Government about how we can make sure these restrictions are temporary and if we continue to see a fall in cases here, I will be arguing strongly for them to be lifted as soon as possible.
“As soon as the Government started to release local data on infections, we took quick and decisive action to get rates down. In fact, over the past week, we’ve seen a significant fall in the rate of infection. It means Kirklees is in a very different position to many of the other authorities named last night and it’s a credit to our incredible residents. If this week’s reduction continues, I’m confident we can get our freedoms back quickly.
“Our biggest strength is our togetherness and we will come through this even stronger. I will continue to update everyone as we know more.”