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Business leaders rage at Matt Hancock’s ‘scaremongering’ talk


Business leaders rage at Matt Hancock’s ‘scaremongering’ talk about a second lockdown as they warn of ‘untold damage’ to businesses trying to recover from coronavirus lockdown

  • Business leaders responded with shock and disbelief to Mr Hancock’s comments
  • He said that England could face restrictions and very extensive local lockdowns
  • He also warned he warned other countries were experiencing a second wave 

Health Secretary Matt Hancock has been slammed for ‘scaremongering’ talk about a second lockdown that risks ‘untold damage’ to businesses trying to recover from the first one.

The under-fire Minister told The Times yesterday that England could face nationwide restrictions and very extensive local lockdowns in the event of a second wave of Covid-19 this winter.

In an interview he warned countries in others parts of the world were already experiencing a second wave and claimed it was ‘a very serious threat’.

Mr Hancock also hinted that if a vaccine is not ready soon, grandparents would be unable to hug their grandchildren this Christmas.

Mr Hancock (pictured) also hinted that if a vaccine is not ready soon, grandparents would be unable to hug their grandchildren this Christmas

Mr Hancock (pictured) also hinted that if a vaccine is not ready soon, grandparents would be unable to hug their grandchildren this Christmas

Last night business leaders responded with shock and disbelief at the timing and the tone of Mr Hancock’s comments.

They come just days before children are set to return to schools in England and ahead of a major Government advertising campaign to encourage workers back to their offices.

Leading City financier Dame Helena Morrissey told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I find it very frustrating – it’s incredibly inconsistent.

‘I’m really not sure at this stage that the country needs more scaremongering. And I find it very perplexing and very disappointing that he’s putting fear in. 

‘Just as children are getting ready to get back to school, this talk of a second wave is very dangerous. 

‘I think that Matt Hancock seems to be marching to his own tune.

‘He seems to be saying things that don’t fit at all with some of the other advice that we’re being given and obviously I think the balance of risks has shifted from all health to health and the economy.’

Charlie Mullins, founder of London firm Pimlico Plumbers, said: ‘How long can we carry on like this? 

‘I don’t think he’s helping and I feel that he needs to be more encouraging than discouraging. 

‘If we don’t go back to work, we’re all going to be worse off anyhow because obviously there won’t be jobs to go to.

Mr Hancock also faced a backlash online, with travel industry expert David Speakman lambasting the Health Secretary on Twitter: ‘Loose talk by Matt Hancock doing untold damage to business unable to plan by irrational government policy’ and asked ‘Where is Boris Johnson [and] Michael Gove putting him in line?’

He added: ‘It illustrates the disconnect between the people and the Establishment. The Establishment that believe they know better and try to rule rather than support… Career politicians don’t help.’

Clive Jacobs, founder of leisure car hire firm Holiday Autos, agreed: ‘When history is written in years to come people will laugh at how imbeciles like him were allowed to destroy our way of life unnecessarily.’

It came as Covid-19 infections fell 14 per cent on last week’s figures, with 1,108 people testing positive in the 24 hours up to yesterday. 

In the same period, the UK recorded 12 deaths to bring the tally to 41,498.

The total number of cases has risen to 332,752, and there is now an average of 1,173 new cases each day. 

More than 1,000 positive tests have been confirmed on 16 days this month, after a run of no four-figure days throughout June and July. 

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