Mayor’s plea to PM and Chancellor as virus measures start to impact city

Liverpool Mayor Joe Anderson has called on the Government to announce clear support for businesses amid mounting uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

Ahead of Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s anticipated announcement this afternoon on how the Government intends to cushion the blow to SMEs and business in general, he outlined the impact the crisis is already having on the city following advice to avoid restaurants, pubs, clubs and places of entertainment, including conference venues.

He said the visitor economy is worth £3bn to Liverpool and supports 38,000 jobs.

The hospitality sector is worth a huge £30m a week to the city, and Mayor Anderson says it has already lost half of that.

And last night organisers of The Grand National confirmed the horse racing spectacular has had to be cancelled because of the Government advice. Mayor Anderson says that, alone, is worth £12m to the region.

In a series of tweets this afternoon, he said: “Today I’m calling on Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak to announce an immediate action plan for solid, sustainable support for businesses.

“We will do all we can to help people, but businesses are also going to face real challenges.”

He reiterated the impact the virtual lockdown could have on ordinary peoples’ lives.

“This crisis is about people’s lives.

“People on low pay or 0 hour contracts will face hardship, no/inadequate sick pay.

“Everyone is worried about their jobs and how they are going to pay their bills and mortgages.

“Every day I’m hearing from businesses who don’t know how they will get through this.”

He added: “It’s not just a Liverpool issue – businesses across the country at risk of going bust through no fault of their own.

“That’s why, when Rishi Sunak steps up at his press conference this afternoon, he must urgently set out how support is going to be given to businesses, and in particular minimise the blow to the culture and hospitality sectors.”

Mr Sunak is expected to take part in this afternoon’s Whitehall press conference that Boris Johnson’s Government pledged would take place daily this week.