LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has said that many sectors had “suffered in ways they’ve never experienced.” He said the government’s decision to put the capital into Tier 4 throughout the Christmas period was a “big blow” to families and businesses.
Mr Khan said while he backed the measures for tighter restrictions across London, “a decision should have been made far, far sooner than Saturday.” He told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday: “[This is] the worst year we’ve had since the Second World War”.
“Many of our sectors – think of culture, hospitality, leisure, tourism, retail – have suffered in ways they’ve never experienced.
“And that’s why we’ve been pleading with the Government for a roadmap to recovery, but also for additional support our sectors need.”
He added: “This eleventh-hour decision by the Prime Minister is a big blow to Londoners who were looking forward to spending time with their families, and businesses looking forward to having a decent couple of weeks in the lead-up to Christmas and the New Year, and are now forced to close.
“I’m really angry at the response given by the Prime Minister and the raised expectations over the relaxation of rules at Christmas. “I think it’s the right thing to do having these restrictions, I think it’s right and proper to act early – but a decision should have been made far, far sooner than Saturday.”
Mr Khan said the likelihood this year’s festive season would not be normal was foreseeable “months ago”, and argued that people had wanted clarity in order to make decisions about whether or not to visit family.
He said: “As recently as last week on Tuesday I was pleading with the Government not to relax the rules for those days over Christmas because we could see that the virus was spreading, particularly with those who have no symptoms of the virus. And I made the point that it was daft for us to move from lockdown into Tier 2 and then Tier 3, and then to Tier 0, and then back to Tier 3 again.
“The Government accused us of trying to cancel Christmas. Now all this was conceivable. What people want is clarity – instead what we got was stop-start change, marching us up a hill, then marching us down, marching us back up the hill, then marching us down again.”
He suggested he was sceptical of the tier system in place across the UK saying it was “ineffective and it isn’t working.” He urged Londoners with non-Covid related health concerns to continue contacting their GPs or call 111