UK Government ordered to release Covid lockdown impact assessments

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UK Government ordered to release Covid lockdown impact assessments
UK Government ordered to release Covid lockdown impact assessments. image: twitter

UK Government ordered to release Covid lockdown impact assessments

According to The Independent, the UK Government, after resisting publishing its assessments on the impact of national lockdowns and Covid restrictions, has been ordered to release these documents. Documents predicting how changing coronavirus rules would affect different groups were kept secret after being drawn up by Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) officials.

Under the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, human rights group Liberty had asked for these documents to be made public. Their request was refused, allegedly told that it would “not be in the public interest” to release them. Liberty accused the government of using unprecedented restrictions, and of “evading scrutiny and undermining accountability”.

It accused the government of “evading scrutiny and undermining accountability” over its use of unprecedented restrictions.

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Rejecting arguments that they should remain secret to “protect the policy process”, the information commissioner has now ordered the documents to be published by the government. A decision notice seen by The Independent read, “The commissioner’s decision is that DHSC is not entitled to rely on section 35(1)(a) of the FOI Act – formulation or development of government policy – to withhold the requested information”.

It continued, “The commissioner acknowledges the massive restrictions imposed by the Health Protection Regulations and the impact on those with protected characteristics cannot be ignored. It is clear that the government was under a strong obligation to ensure that any measures introduced would not have a disproportionate impact on particular sections of the population”.

These documents must be made public by November, with Liberty’s head of policy and campaigns, Sam Grant, saying, “It is critical that we can all trust the government to respect our rights and follow the law – especially at times of crisis when it is so easy for our rights to be swept away. But this government has shown time and time again that it will do anything to evade scrutiny and undermine accountability”.


“The government side-lined our elected MPs by using emergency powers, even when it had months to prepare and ensure proper scrutiny was applied”, he added. “Arguing that it was against the public interest to release what it knew about these powers is an insult to all of us affected by them. It is high time the government accepted that – despite its own conduct – it is not above the law, and must not become untouchable”.

The equality impact assessments could be kept secret under an FOI exemption for ongoing policy development is what the DHSC had allegedly said in submissions to the information commissioner. “The government may need to take additional measures to manage the virus during periods of higher risk, such as a mandatory vaccine-only certification policy and legally mandating face coverings in certain settings”, it added.

In response to this, in reference to the assessments, the watchdog claimed that it was “difficult to see how these will affect future policymaking. The commissioner considers that the public interest rests in favour of disclosing the withheld information”.


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Chris was born in a small village in Wales, where he ran his own successful construction company for many years, before deciding in 1990, to swap the grey skies and rain for the sunshine and lifestyle of the Costa del Sol. Late last year he made the move to Southern Portugal, and is now residing on the Algarve. Having sung and played in a rock band back in Wales, he still likes to go out and entertain in his spare time, singing in restaurants and golf clubs. Interests are of course music, especially from the 60s and 70s, movies, nice restaurants, and he has a passion for graphic design and online marketing.

1 COMMENT

  1. Firstly, there’s no point in saying this government will do anything to avoid scrutiny and accountability as any other government would do exactly the same. I think we need to change the way we are governed, perhaps similar to the Swiss model. But where does the blame for all this COVID mess spring from? It’s the media, they have and are still blowing COVID cases out of all proportion. Lockdown was a disaster, it ruined the economy and we and our children will have to suffer the consequences for years to come and when it comes to people’s lives it will be shown that more will have suffered from non diagnoses of life threatening illnesses such as cancer, from mental illnesses caused by isolation and from everyone, especially children, being prevented from building up natural immunity to respiratory illnesses that is causing loss of life by being unable to mix with other children and catching the usual coughs and colds. The government was blackmailed by the media when they said what’s more important, lives or money. It was never a case of that, they scared the population and the results will in time show that lockdown was a disastrous mistake.

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