TRACY Brabin raised the issue of Covid-19 outbreaks in meat processing plants with the Prime Minister following his statement to the House of Commons on the further easing of lockdown restrictions.

This was following an outbreak within her Batley & Spen constituency at Kober Ltd in Cleckheaton, with at least several other countries dealing with similar outbreaks in meat processing facilities.

She said: “With the Health and Safety Executive having their budget cut by 50% since 2010 can the government ensure that Kirklees and other councils will have all the money they need to keep our community safe, and also what investigations are going ahead from the government to look at why meat processing particularly is exposed to Covid-19 outbreaks?”

Responding to Tracy, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said “we are certainly looking into what’s happening to meat processing”, as well as stating the HSE would receive an extra £14 million and “local councils will be fortified in implementing local lockdowns by central government and the joint biosecurity centre”.

Commenting afterwards, Ms Brabin said “Whilst I welcome extra funding for the Health and Safety Executive, the fact is that we were left unprepared for this pandemic by a decade of austerity.

"With lockdown being eased and new clusters of Covid-19 becoming more likely, I will be investigating how much of this additional funding will be coming to Kirklees.

"Words of support from the Prime Minister are welcome, but we need action to ensure the government gives councils the funding and support they need, as well as an urgent investigation in to Covid-19 outbreaks in meat processing plants so the staff, and the communities they live in, are kept safe."