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 'Council's communication during lockdown, lacks clarity' say Medway Liberal Democrats

January 25, 2021 4:30 PM
By Medway Liberal Democrats

keyboardMedway Liberal Democrats are pleased to see that the infection rates within Medway have continued to drop since the start of the 3rd national lockdown. However, with over 380 deaths recorded in Medway since the 1st November there has to be questions raised the how the council has handled the communication during this crisis.

What is clear, is that since the summer, the Conservative leadership's goal has been to instil in the residents of Medway that everything is safe and we should return to our normal lives. Although we support local businesses and understand the strain they are under, this attitude can be dangerous during a pandemic where it is very easy for people to forget the importance of following the rules.

Even during October and November when cases began rise rapidly, there was little or no change in the communications from the council leadership. Where other councils around Kent were posting the daily figures on their social media, our council continued to post generic posts taken from the government's website. As Christmas approached and the news of a new more contagious strain emerged, the council and conservative councillors continued a campaign to encourage residents out of their homes for non-essential shopping in our busy highstreets.

John Castle, Medway Liberal Democrats spokesperson says, 'One of the few statements to emerge from our Council Leader during December was an attack on the opposition parties who had asked a legitimate question about closing schools. A statement that said that schools were safe and those calling for them to close are playing politics with a crisis. An ironic statement now that you consider that all schools were shortly closed in January.'

The council's communications had another calamity when they seemed to be focusing on people playing board games. They released an advert asking people to put down board games and pick up a games console. This was such a disastrous advert that the whole campaign had to be pulled after there were a complaints from many local residents who questioned the council's priority during this crisis.

Liberal Democrats are therefore calling on the council to reassess their communication strategy regarding Covid, and instead of using it to solely protect businesses, they use it to protect lives.