By Chris Young- LDRS

Bradford Council’s leader has hit back at claims that the Authority has turned a “blind eye” to some businesses that break social distancing rules.
Councillor John Pennington, leader of the Conservative opposition on the Council, said that while many businesses in Bradford had closely followed Covid guidelines, others had not.
He said he had seem some venues in the city that appeared to be holding large events, and claimed the Council was seemingly ignoring such rule breaches.
He has called for “draconian” measures to be taken to close venues that show a “total disregard” for rules. Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe has heavily rebuked the claim that the issue is being ignored.

Cllr Pennington (Bingley) said: “Some areas have concentrated housing with multiple occupancy where the majority adhere to the distancing rules as far as they are able, but there is a far more dangerous threat which needs addressing.
“Covid Marshalls can visit and educate people in homes and small to medium businesses but find the majority aware and compliant.
“Some retail outlets have performed magnificently.
“It is the larger celebratory gatherings that need to be addressed. The general public and the authorities meant to serve, know where Covid takes hold, yet the latter seemingly fail to act for fear I believe, of unrest.
“The rules are meant for everyone but draconian measures are needed in areas where there is a total disregard.
“Immediate closure without return for a given period must be imposed, any protest will pale into insignificance if the virus does take hold.
“It is all too easy to find a reason why action cannot be taken, the words ‘blind eye’ spring to mind.”

Cllr Hinchcliffe replied: “Cllr Pennington demonstrates he has no detailed grasp of just how much work is going on to engage, educate and enforce regulations across the district.
“Council officers, councillors, the Youth Service, our Youth COVID ambassadors, voluntary sector partners and the police have, for months now, been out seven days a week, day-time and evening, engaging with residents and businesses, to protect the public.
“No-one turns a blind eye, prohibition notices are regularly issued and in the vast majority of cases the recipients act quickly so that they comply. The infection is everywhere in the district and is rising.
“No matter where you live, you should not be lulled into a false sense of security by Cllr Pennington. He seems to imply that postcodes somehow make people less likely to catch the virus.
“Sadly that is not the case.  I’m keen that we protect everyone. What has driven the effort from the beginning has been the preservation of life and that is still the same today.
“Wherever you live in the district, you are valued and I want to thank you for playing by the rules and for your patience in helping keep yourself, your family and your fellow residents to stay safe. Just because Cllr Pennington thinks something to be true, doesn’t mean it actually is fact.”