Sutton Scene - Leader of the Council Column 23/10/20

Ruth Dombey, Leader of Sutton Council

Published Friday, 23rd October 2020

Councillor Ruth Dombey's column from our Sutton Scene newsletter, Friday 23 October.

Next week sees the arrival of half term and Halloween and the weather is starting to get colder and wetter. I can understand how tempting it is to want to meet with friends and family outside of our own households and how difficult it is to continue to do everything we can to keep each other safe and follow the rules.

But now we are in the high alert level 2, we cannot meet indoors with anyone apart from our own households or support bubbles. Mixing indoors with people we don't live with increases the risk of exposure for ourselves and our loved ones. If we don't all work together to keep the infection rates down, our NHS and our hospitals will not be able to cope.

The rate of infection in our borough is not one of the highest in London but, like the rest of the city, the numbers are increasing rapidly and we need to do all we can to avoid having to go into an even higher level of restrictions. I have several meetings every week with government officials and the Mayor of London to discuss the situation, understand the trends and agree what needs to be done locally to keep everyone as safe as possible.

I'm pleased to see that we now have a permanent test centre based in the Civic Offices car park and we will shortly have three more. Up until recently, our testing rate was quite low compared to other London boroughs and I'm glad the numbers are now increasing so we have a better understanding of the rate of infection in our borough. I have been lobbying the Department of Health to bring more test labs into operation across London so that the results can be analysed more quickly and I was pleased to hear that there should be more labs up and running very soon.

The ongoing pandemic is difficult for everyone but particularly for people who are unwell, isolated and fragile. The financial impact on many families is also getting worse and people are worried about their future, their jobs and how they are going to pay for basic essentials.

Sutton Council will continue to provide all the support we can to anyone who needs it. We will continue to work tirelessly to support the most vulnerable, the elderly and those who are struggling. We will do all we can to help our local businesses through this economic recession. And we will continue to work closely with the health service, the police, our housing associations, our schools, our voluntary and community sector, our faith groups, our carers and volunteers and everyone in our borough who cares about our community and wants to help us keep everyone safe and well. 

It's a huge task but together we will succeed.