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Tory decisions are to blame for the COVID spike – not young people

Matt Hancock talking in front of podium that says 'stay alert, control the virus, save lives'

The Health Secretary has announced that the UK could see a second spike in coronavirus cases if young people don’t follow social distancing rules. The Young Greens would like to formally challenge Mr Hancock’s statement, with both the belief and the evidence that the rise in COVID-19 cases is actually due to the Conservative’s lack of guidance and ill-informed decisions following the easing of lockdown.

It is a travesty that young people are being used as scapegoats when they have been one of the worst–hit generations by the pandemic. Education disrupted, grades unfairly manipulated, mass unemployment and looming evictions are just some of the consequences of the Conservative’s poor leadership that we have had to face. There is a nation-wide consensus that their guidelines for social distancing have been unclear and muddled, during which time we have been encouraged to eat out, shop, go to work, go back to school or university where in a few weeks’ time many students will be living with over six people from other households. With the eviction ban soon to be lifted and the furlough scheme winding down, the plight of young people during this epidemic is only due to worsen.

It is time for the government to stop scapegoating some of the most vulnerable in society and face the facts: public safety and health has blatantly come at the cost of protecting the ‘economy’. And when we say ‘the economy’, we don’t mean the 5.9 million small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), we mean their corporate friends. The Young Greens are calling for the government to clearly state what they are going to do to secure the futures of this country’s young people throughout the rest of this pandemic, as we will only respond to actions, not insults.