Sadiq Khan has ‘no confidence’ in plans for local lockdowns

Sadiq Khan has said he has “no confidence” in the Government’s ability to enforce a lockdown in London in the case of a local outbreak.

As the Prime Minister set out plans to ease guidance on employees returning to their workplaces, the London mayor said the Government is likely to be “too slow” to react to a potential second spike in the capital.

Mr Khan told the PA news agency that London borough councils were unprepared for the possibility of a local lockdown.

He said: “I haven’t got any confidence that we could have a geographical lockdown in London.

“We probably could lock down a building, if it’s a factory or a place of worship or a school.

“That’s why it’s really important at long last that the Government provides us with the power, resources, clarity and information, should there be a need, heaven forbid, for a local lockdown in London.”

He added that workplaces must be properly prepared with hand sanitisers and social distancing measures, and that employers stagger start times to avoid overcrowding on public transport.

Mr Khan made the comments while visiting an east London school to announce City Hall’s £2.1 million investment in providing activities for disadvantaged children over summer.

On Friday it was announced that a limited number of Greater London Authority staff will be able to return to work at City Hall from July 30.

The building, which will remain closed to the public, will have a maximum initial capacity of just over 200 people, with two metres between desks, one way systems in place, and an enhanced cleaning and hygiene regime.

On a visit to Mossbourne Riverside Academy in Hackney Mr Khan said as parents return to workplaces, funding needs to be focused on youth services to avoid disadvantaged children turning to crime.

He said: “I’m really worried about the huge and profound impact the coronavirus will have on young people, from mental health issues, loneliness, isolation, and a lack of opportunity.

“I’m also well aware about complex causes for why violent crime occurs.

“And one of the reasons why violent crime is occurring is deprivation, lack of opportunity and inequalities.

“Sport, education and culture are huge ways to get young people involved in constructive things, so we’re supporting over the summer more than £2.1 million of activities to give young people the confidence, as the lockdown is being eased, so they can start making up for lost ground, but also so they can get involved in constructive things rather than criminal gangs or violence.”

Youth service funding in the capital has been cut by 46% since 2011, according to City Hall.

Following lockdown, a UK Youth report highlighted that 72% of youth services say they need access to emergency funds.