BBC Breakfast presenters Dan Walker and Louise Minchin had invited Grant Shapps MP onto the show this morning to discuss the latest lockdown rules and shed some clarity on why people in England can go and take part in a property viewing but cannot visit their family. While the Transport Secretary claimed the reason for this was “common sense,” the host seemed to think otherwise.
From today, there are several changes to the lockdown rules in England – one of them being the government’s plan to restart the housing market which has been in a deep freeze since the coronavirus lockdown.
Estate agents are now allowed to reopen with viewings carried out and removal firms and conveyancers restarting operations.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick said the changes must be carried out under social distancing and safety rules.
But many couldn’t comprehend why a stranger would be allowed into someone else’s property, yet you cannot see both your parents from the 2m social distance out in a garden or park.
Shapps answered: “Look, I think the thing to say is, at the beginning of this [lockdown] the message was quite simple; everyone should just hunk it out and stay at home.
“Inevitably as you unlock that, in the need to not unlock everything in order to continue to control the virus – the so called R rate – it does mean you have to make some rules and it’s going to be the case where there has to be a cut off line somewhere.
“This is the set of rules in place, everyone has been pretty sensible up until now, we ask people to apply their common sense and I know that they will, and you have to have a cut off somewhere,” he added.
Interjecting, Walker continued: “I think people appreciate that, but you talk about common sense, but it means potential buyers and renters, and childminders and cleaners can go into a property but members of a family who live in a different household can’t.
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“That doesn’t sound like common sense!”
“No, look I feel exactly the same as everybody,” Shapps sympathised.“But we must understand we have done so well in the last eight weeks, we cannot throw all that away.
“These are baby steps, someone visits a home that is likely to be a one off. If you start to visit your family again, that is likely to be many more times.
“Somewhere there has to be a line where we say ‘this is okay, but this isn’t’ in order to gradually release things and this is where that line is – at the moment – set,” he stated.
Those watching at home took to Twitter to discuss the new rules and understandably, not everyone agreed.
“Housing market is starting to crash so estate agents need to get back to work #BBCBreakfast,” someone else remarked after it was revealed 450,000 buyers and renters are waiting to complete.
“So I can go and view a house if I want to buy it but I can’t go and visit my mum? SORRY WHAT?!?!? Absolute mess. #BBCBreakfast,” someone else argued.
“I really wouldn’t want strangers walking round my house during the current pandemic – how will estate agents be able to guarantee safety to house sellers? #BBCBreakfast @bbcbreakfast,” another questioned.
As of yesterday, Tuesday 12 May 2020 at 4pm, the total number of lab-confirmed UK cases was 226,463 according to gov.uk.
The total number of COVID-19 associated UK deaths stands at 32,692 with 627 being recorded yesterday.
BBC Breakfast airs everyday at 6am on BBC One.
Published at Wed, 13 May 2020 07:07:00 +0000