Leading British business chief Luke Johnson has savaged Boris Johnson’s new tiered system as “incoherent” and “arbitrary”. The former Chair of Pizza Express told BBC Newsnight that “pubs didn’t even shut during the blitz in the second world war”. This comes as Boris Johnson desperately tried to quell a growing rebellion on his own backbenchers by offering them a sunset clause on the tier system.
Mr Johnson called on the government to conduct a risk-assessment into the cost of lockdowns
He told the BBC: “Clearly these are difficult times, but the fact is it’s very difficult not to believe that this is incoherent and arbitrary.”
“Where is the cost-benefit analysis of the lockdowns? Did this last month’s lockdown work? If not, why are we going into these tiers?
“And why do these tiers seem harder than before the lockdown?”
He continued: “Why is it legitimate to go to a gym in any tier, and yet pubs and restaurants are shut in Tier 3?
“Where is the evidence that hospitality is spreading the virus? According to Public Health England they are only responsible for three percent of outbreaks.
“The Government should do a proper risk assessment of what lockdowns cost, not just financially but also on welfare. We need to know whether they cause more harm than good.
“A lot of these business are hanging by a thread. Pubs didn’t even shut during the blitz in the second world war. And yet we are destroying the industry, with thousands of jobs.”
Steve Baker, deputy chairman of the COVID Recovery Group, said the “authoritarianism at work today is truly appalling”.
If the tier approaches go ahead, some 99 percent of England’s population will fall under the two toughest tiers when the second national lockdown ends.
However, in a significant U-turn, Mr Johnson has now written to all MPs telling them that if they back the measure this week a new sunset clause will mean the restrictions last only until the start of February.
At that stage MPs would have another vote on the tiers, which would determine whether or not they stay in place until the end of March, which was the original end date.