Saturday 15th August 2020
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30/07/2020 - Unity vital in dealing with Covid-19

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Covid-19 latest statement from Luton Council Leader Councillor Hazel Simmons MBE and Acting Chief Executive Laura Church:

Prejudice, hatred and extremism have absolutely no place in Luton. Respect must be the starting point and the continuing theme in everything we do.

The response from across the whole of the Luton community to the Covid-19 emergency has been absolutely tremendous. There are countless examples of volunteers - from all walks of life, faith and background in Luton - who have rallied to support and protect the vulnerable and those in need during these exceptionally challenging times. This is one of the better things to have come out of this crisis. Unfortunately, there is a minority seeking to undermine all the work done to keep us united in fighting this dreadful disease.

Alarmingly, we have seen and heard comments that are completely unacceptable and Luton Council will not hold back from deleting these from its social media accounts and ban those who seek to poison honest and frank debate. We will not tolerate those who try to exploit the crisis to try to pin the blame and stigmatise anyone or any group in our community.

Evidence shows many of our people are more vulnerable to Covid-19 and other diseases due to pre-existing health conditions, poverty, housing conditions or because many work in front line services.

These services, such as social care, the NHS, and transport, have been essential to saving lives and keeping us all going through the crisis so it is vital we do everything we can to protect our whole community. All our public health guidelines are designed to help us do this.

It is vital we do all we can to protect those who are most vulnerable but equally importantly, we must show mutual respect for everyone in our community. Our commitment to a Luton in Harmony and its message of “Many Voices, One Town” has never been more important.

Yes, we should be free to speak, question and even call to account individuals and organisations, whatever they do and whichever part of the community they may serve. And we want to reassure you that the council and its partners are doing everything in their power to deal with situations where we are aware that the guidelines are not being upheld.

We must all uphold the shared values that hold our community together, and this includes calling out those who try to blame any group on the basis of race or religion in order to divide our community, using the problems we all face as an excuse.

The town has shown great strength of spirit and determination; nevertheless, the pandemic remains a real and present danger and we must take extra precautions to prevent further outbreaks of this dreadful disease. The more we strive together, to protect Luton, to protect our families and to protect our community, the quicker we will be able to return to more normal lives.

Councillor Hazel Simmons MBE
Leader of the Council

Laura Church
Acting Chief Executive

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