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English councils call for same powers as those in Wales to crack down on Covid non-compliance

13 Feb 2021 2 minute read
Picture by Nickolay Romensky (CC BY 2.0).

Council leaders in England have called on the UK Government to give them the same powers as those in Wales to crack down on shops that don’t comply with Covid rules.

The council leaders in the West Midlands of England have come together to call on the UK Government to hand them tougher powers, allowing them to crackdown on shops flouting the restrictions.

Speaking at a weekly regional Covid update, Birmingham City Council leader Cllr Ian Ward called on the Government to issue councils with similar powers as those held by Welsh local authorities.

He and the other leaders of the councils which make up the West Midlands have now written to the Government requesting “official powers to enforce breaches of Covid-secure measures”.

“These powers – which are available to local authorities in Wales – would cover a wide range of safety measures, including controlling the number of customers, provision of sanitiser, check-out screens and appropriate social-distancing within supermarkets,” he told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

“While we remain keen to work with food retailers, there must be consequences for continued non-compliance.

“We need the power to rapidly issue improvement notices to supermarkets and other retailers and close them quickly in the event of repeated breaches which endanger both staff and customers.”

Council powers in England are currently limited with regards to closing retailers classed as essential service providers, a Birmingham City Council spokesperson said.

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