You can read Sharon's latest Echo column below, or on the Sunderland Echo Website
One hundred and fifty thousand Britons have died of coronavirus,
and this could be as high as 175,000 if the 28-day marker is not used.
Such a high death toll is difficult to picture in your mind; 150,000 is the population of Blackpool.
The number can leave us numb to the personal effects of this virus, yet every single addition to the death toll represents a family grieving for their loved one. My sympathies are with them.
That the toll is not even higher is testament to the NHS, which has repurposed, reworked and reorganised its operation to protect us from the virus. Our NHS is run on a shoestring; it only just about manages in normal years, with long A&E times common.
When the pandemic hit, a decade of Conservative underfunding meant Britain’s National Health Service was unable to do everything. Prioritising the pandemic with what little resources it had, other NHS services were reduced. Ambulance response targets were missed across the board in November and the backlog for regular treatment is worrying large and rising.
The Conservatives can’t get their act together; even when they insist that testing is the way forward, we went days without being able to get Lateral Flow Tests during the festive period. Despite bringing in a National Insurance rise for working people, the Government offers declining standards in health It’s simply bad value for your money.
Judging by the Government’s track record, the NHS could be waiting quite a while yet for support.
Some three years after the phrase ‘levelling up’ was coined, we are none the wiser as to its meaning. A flagship of government policy, the Prime Minister promised to help communities like ours in his general election campaign.
Instead, the cost of living is spiralling out of control. As energy companies collapsed into administration, the Government sat on their hands, placing ordinary people in uncertainty and confusion. While the Tories leave public transport services to rust and creak, the price of fuel soars.
The Tories raise your taxes, reduce your council budget and threaten to charge you for the Lateral Flow Tests they themselves prescribe. They play fast and loose with your safety and still they want more out of your pocket.