Government incompetence blamed for wrong Covid tier ads

Government incompetence blamed for wrong Covid tier ads

Government newspaper adverts explaining the coronavirus tiers in at least two places were wrong, it has emerged.

The ads were in Bradford’s Telegraph and Argus and the Hexham Courant this week. Both said the current alert level was medium, when it is in fact high.

Bradford South Labour MP Judith Cummins said it was “more staggering incompetence from a government that is losing its grip on this pandemic”.

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The adverts appeared in error.”

A statement on the Hexham Courant website said: “In a government advert in the Hexham Courant on October 15 it incorrectly stated the local Covid alert level was medium. The Courant would like to apologise for this error and state that the level is high.”

Ms Cummins told the Commons: “The government took out a full-page ad in my local paper to inform people of the new Covid alert level across Bradford.

“However, the advert got the tier wrong. It said that we are in the medium tier when in fact Bradford and the whole of West Yorkshire is in the high level.

“From statements via Twitter to late-night announcements, this is more staggering incompetence from a government that is losing its grip on this pandemic.

“The very least we can all expect is accurate information on new rules. So can we have a debate in government time on government communications during this pandemic?”

Leader of the House of Commons Jacob Rees-Mogg replied: “The government has done a great deal to support local newspapers through this pandemic by placing adverts in them.

“That has been an important way of helping a community facility that is very much appreciated.

“I’m glad to tell the honourable lady that there will be two debates on Covid, when it will be possible to raise these issues.”

A Department of Health spokesperson said: “The adverts appeared in error and we are in discussion with the relevant parties to prevent this happening again.”

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