Merseyside councils respond to new Covid restrictions – statement

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson and Metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region Steve Rotheram have responded to the government’s announcement on new Covid-19 restrictions for the area.

In a joint statement with the other council leaders of the region, they have cautiously welcomed the steps to try and control the virus but say the region needs more clarity and stressed its visitor economy urgently needs economic support to prevent it collapsing.

They said: “As the elected leaders of the Liverpool City Region our first priority is to protect the health and wellbeing of the 1.6 million people that we represent.  

“It’s absolutely right that we do everything we can to stop the spread of Coronavirus and keep as many people safe as possible. Over the past few days, we have engaged in talks with minsters over their proposals for greater restrictions. 

“The measures announced today are a step in the right direction but we need to understand whether they are enough to really address the escalating cases in our city region. 

“Therefore, we are requesting that the government provide us with the scientific evidence so we can understand if these measures will be sufficient to prevent the spread of the virus.   

“In addition, we are also aware that without appropriate financial support from the government, restrictions will damage businesses and industries – in many cases irretrievably – when in normal times they are perfectly viable. 

“Our region is an international destination, and our visitor economy is worth almost £5bn to the city region economy every year and employs over 50,000 people. Over recent years, our hospitality and retail industries have been vibrant and growing. But we have already seen some businesses go under in the face of COVID and, without Government assistance over the past few months, many more would have followed.  

“These new restrictions mean that we will also need an immediate substantial additional package of economic support from the Government urgently and, so far, it is not clear that this is being provided. 

“We will now seek further urgent talks with the Government on these measures, any further measures, and what their response is to our request for a financial support package.