Metro Mayor delivers lockdown plea to government

Steve Rotheram

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram has urged the Government to involve local leaders in any further lockdown measures across the region, and provide adequate financial support for the industries affected.

Reports claim Prime Minister Boris Johnson could introduce more stringent measures to tackle rising coronavirus infection numbers as early as next Monday, including the closure of pubs, restaurants and even hairdressers.

This is in addition to existing social distancing rules already affecting most of the North West for several weeks.

Steve Rotheram said: “It is deeply disappointing to wake up this morning to reports that new COVID-19 restrictions affecting millions of people in our city region, and across the North, could be in place within days, rather than hearing it during a genuine dialogue between ministers and local leaders.

“At the moment we have a patchwork of local measures across the country and too much confusion for the public as a result.

“So, clarity and consistency are certainly needed about what the different levels of restrictions are, when they will be imposed and, crucially, how and when they can be lifted again.

“Significant restrictions, like those being proposed, must also come with significant financial support for local businesses that will be affected, local councils who are leading our public health efforts, and for NHS test and trace.

“When the country locked down in March the Chancellor’s actions showed that such significant measures required financial support on a similar scale.

“If it was right then, it certainly is now – so we need to be seeing local furlough schemes, business grants and financial support for the self-employed and those who cannot work from home.

“Otherwise, the money spent earlier in the year to protect jobs and businesses earlier in the year will have been wasted, because we haven’t done similar now.”

He added: “It’s clear looking at the data and speaking to public health teams in our city region that the spread of this virus continues to go in the wrong direction.

“We are seeing infection rates increase significantly, while hospital admissions are already moving towards the levels we saw back in April.

“Once again, I would urge everyone in the city region to exercise extreme caution.

“Please follow the guidance on social distancing, face coverings and washing hands and play your part in keeping all of us as safe as possible.”

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