‘Put your masks back on,’ Sajid Javid urges London Tube passengers

Mr Javid told The Standard: “If the policy of Transport for London is wear a mask, which it is, people should respect that and absolutely wear a mask, I certainly would on the Tube.”

With winter approaching when viruses spread more easily, he added: “It’s actually common sense.

“The pandemic has not ended.

“We are in a much, much better place than we were before, the vaccines are working.

“But there is still Covid around and if you are in a crowded place like the Tube, rush hour, it’s absolutely sensible to wear a mask.”

Latest TfL customer research found that from August 22 to September 18, 77 per cent of passengers claimed to wear a mask on every journey, down from 82 per cent between July 25 and August 21.

In the wide-ranging interview, Mr Javid also:

  • Told how he will unveil at Tory conference next week new details on NHS reforms, including on far greater digitalisation, to ensure billions extra being ploughed into the health service are spent “incredibly carefully”.
  • Insisted there was “very strong support” among Tory members for the extra investment in the NHS and to tackle the social care crisis funded by hikes in National Insurance and higher tax on dividends.
  • Voiced “deep concerns” over health inequalities in London, including that male life expectancy in Barking and Dagenham is nearly seven years less than in Westminster.
  • Urged more businesses in the capital to help to close the city’s huge wealth divide.
  • Pledged that the Government’s “levelling-up” agenda would benefit areas such as Barking and Dagenham, and Tottenham, rather than just deprived communities in the North and Midlands.
  • Stressed that the Government had “made its decision” on axing the £20-a-week uplift in Universal Credit, despite calls from Tory and other MPs for it to reconsider, as the economy recovers with more jobs available.

Mr Javid was speaking at the Mosaic Clubhouse in Brixton, known for its excellent mental health support, ahead of the launch of the Office for Health Improvement and Disparities.

The new body, which will receive professional leadership from England’s Chief Medical Officer, Professor Chris Whitty, aims to tackle “unacceptable” health disparities across the country to help people to live longer, encourage healthier lives and reduce the pressure on the health and care system.

Health chiefs highlighted, as an example of disparities, that a man in Barking and Dagenham can expect to live 77 years, compared to 84.7 in Westminster.

While London has the lowest regional proportion of adults who are overweight or obese, at 55 per cent, it also has the second highest percentage of Year Six children who are obese (including severely obese) at 23.7 per cent.

Asked about the lower life expectancy in the East London borough, Mr Javid said: “It’s deeply concerning.


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