READING East MP Matt Rodda talks about the necessity of a second lockdown. He writes;

We face a very difficult and challenging situation and I support the Government’s plans for a second lockdown.

Coronavirus cases are doubling every few days and the sheer pace of growth now threatens to outstrip the NHS’s capacity to respond. We cannot ignore the very serious position we face in Berkshire and across the country.

Lockdown is far from easy, but this measure, however difficult, is necessary. Unfortunately other measures, including the Government’s tiered approach, have failed to reduce the spread of the virus and the resulting increase in illness and deaths.

I wish the Prime Minister, the Chancellor and other Ministers had acted quicker. It would have been so much better if they had listened to the scientific advice for a short circuit breaker lockdown earlier in the autumn, which would have tackled the growth of the virus much earlier, saved lives, and protected the economy.

However, I am sure our community will pull together and I want to pay tribute to local people. Our NHS staff, care workers, key workers and volunteers, and the whole community who are working incredibly hard to tackle the virus and help save lives.

But, bravery and determination being shown does not make this lockdown any easier.

The Government needs to use this time to fix the test and trace system. There have been delays expanding testing in the Reading area, although a new test facility has now opened at the university.

There needs to be more testing in care homes, to reduce the risk of another outbreak like the recent one at a care home in Shinfield. In addition, I hope the Government will provide more tests for NHS and care staff, including those who carry out home visits.

I hope that support for self employed people and employees can improve, people have contributed all their lives and need to be supported at this difficult time.

Businesses also need support, both those which are easy to identify like pubs and bars, and also their suppliers which are sometimes less visible, but which are still deeply affected.

I also hope the Government will look again at restrictions on collective worship and amateur sport.