LETTER: Clarity from the government would go a long way
A reader calls for more clarity from the government regarding the coronavirus outbreak.
As the nation battles with the deadly Covid-19, our immediate thoughts go to the sick and the families of those who love ones have lost their lives. A Huge thank you from the nation must go to all the NHS staff for a job most of us would not want to do. Each day those incredible people go to work knowing they put their health and families on the line. Praise is wonderful, but what they need is the equipment, and PPE, to keep them as safe as possible, we have a duty to provide this as a small price for these amazing people who are looking after our health.
I am sure in time when the nation has got back to some sort of normality many questions will be asked. Each day a different politician appears in the media trying to update us and bring some sort of calm and reassurance, but each time there are mixed messages, one day we are told we have enough PP. Then reports from the clinicians tell a different storey, manufactures are telling the government that they have capacity to produce PPE, but the government does not respond to their offer, this sort of conflicting information is not helpful for the country. I appreciate this is a fast-moving situation and it’s not always possible to make the right decision all the time as there is so much conflicting advice from the scientist and medical professions, but clarity and the truth would go a long way to a frightened country.
If we briefly look at what we know, a report by Edinburgh University Professor Devi Sridhar two years ago said an animal type virus would spread to humans and the slow response by the UK government to prepare this scenario has not helped the situation. Moving forward the government had information that a virus was coming at the start of 2020, the government stated the UK would not be effected seriously (really), this was the time to sock up PPE and prepare all the necessary equipment required. But as usual we sit back until the last minute probably because there is a cost involved.
Why as a nation are, we always struggling to produce the equipment that we need? This is because of the years of Maggie Thatcher who disarmed our manufacturing nation because it was not trendy in favour of banking, insurance etc and not the typical manufacturing our country was built on. I lived like so many through those decades, apprenticeships dwindled and only in recent years are we trying desperately to encourage more apprenticeships assuming companies can facilitate them. Unless you are one of the big players in the industry where money and the political photo opportunities arose, you were very much on your own. We wonder why Germany fairs better. they have always looked after their nation interest and every size manufacturing not out for a quick profit.
The government has made billions of pounds available through the banks to help business, and the banks in their usually uncooperative way are not pulling their weight. Maybe it’s time to tell these banks that the country is withdrawing its bailout loan to them that the taxpayers funded in their time of need, after all they have had twelve years to pay it back, more time than they would give most business
I hear you say how you come to this view, born in the 1950s I have lived through these times plus had my own business for 25 years. The more you retain in house manufacturing the stronger you become and in times like these less dependent on other countries, we have lost some of the practical ways we treat industry, in favour of what we call the invisible earning approach (Banking Insurance ) although this service are important, we must put them to the detriment of manufacturing. I doubt if politicians would agree but I have tried to point to reason. If I am wrong, why are we importing tons of medical supplies from other countries, and when this still does not fulfil our quota, at the last minute we ask any UK manufacturer to reconfigure their production lines.
G Powell, Penkridge