Plan for huge civic ‘thank you’ to key workers when COVID19 crisis is over

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson has announced the city will come together to support, celebrate and remember the efforts of health staff and other key workers when safe to do so, after the COVID-19 crisis is over.

In a keynote address – broadcast on the council’s digital channels earlier today – the Mayor committed to a large-scale civic event for people to say ‘thank you’ and pay tribute to staff in the likes of the NHS, care, public sector, retail and logistics sectors who are on the frontline in keeping the city going during the pandemic.

He made the announcement in response to a question from Alder Hey nurse Helen O’Boyle, who asked what would be done to thank healthcare staff.

He said: “I hope people recognise how important and how valuable they really are because it is now that we need them more than ever that they are stepping up to the plate and in some cases putting their lives at risk.

“What I intend to do, to celebrate when it is safe to do so, is to hold a parade in our city. I hope it will be the biggest parade ever – that tops Liverpool and Everton’s parades, the Giants parades – where we come out and celebrate our public services and everything they have done for us and to us during this time of crisis.”

In answer to direct questions put by senior members of the business and cultural community in the city during the broadcast, he said the council will go over and above in order to re-energise the economy when the pandemic is over: “We’ve got to plan now for now how we come out of the blocks once it’s safe for us to actually try to come back to some sort of normality. So I’ve brought in some consultants, we’re talking to them and working with them to look at what we can do.

“I’ve raised this already with central Government. I know the combined authority and the metro mayor is also doing similar in terms of arguing that we need more support and more funding. We’ve got to work with businesses to make sure that we support them and that we support development and investment to come back into our city with a clear plan on how we’re going to be growing our economy, strengthening our economy and making sure we get investment and development running.”

He also outlined the importance of the cultural and tourism sectors, which support tens of thousands of jobs in the city. He said: “It actually supports the city in a tremendous way by promoting our city across the world, keeping our reputation going as one of the friendliest and best cities to visit, so we’ve got to make sure that we give you the support in the short, medium and long-term.”

But he warned the council is losing £1 million a week as a result of coronavirus and the loss of income from the likes of leisure centres, parking and other fees and charges, and forecast that an emergency budget will have to be called in the summer “to take stock and assess the deficit that we are going to be facing”.

He urged people who have lost their jobs and struggling with council tax payments to contact the council to see if they are eligible for support.

The Mayor also urged people to dig deep and find hope during the current situation, revealing that he himself is finding it extremely difficult to handle the current restrictions on movement as he is unable to see his children and grandchildren.

He said: “I know how hard it is for you and I know how difficult it is for you to remain indoors and stay to away from your families. I desperately miss, as an old grandad, my six grandchildren…so I know how hard it is.

He added: “One of the traits of scousers, of Liverpool people, is that we love in times of difficulty to put our arms around each other, and help each other and support each other, and I think that is what is hurting us – the fact we’re not able to do it.”

Mayor Anderson has also released a personal letter, urging people to stay strong during the current crisis and saying the city will get through it. It can be read here.