HALTON AND OTHER LIVERPOOL CITY REGION AREAS TO BE PLACED ON HIGHEST TIER 3 COVID ALERT LEVEL

Today the Prime Minster has confirmed that the Liverpool City Region will be placed on to the ‘very high’ local Covid alert level.

Speaking in Parliament, he confirmed that in addition to the baseline measures prohibiting social mixing indoors and in private gardens, pubs and bars, gyms and leisure centres, betting shops, adult gaming centres and casinos across the City Region will close.

In a Joint statement, the Metro Mayor, City Mayor and Leaders of the Liverpool City Region’s six local authorities said:

“Since we were first informed by the Government that, in response to the high and rising Covid-19 cases in the City Region, they would be placing the Liverpool City Region onto new Tier 3 restrictions, it was made clear to us that government would be doing this regardless of if we engaged with them or not.

“Since then we have been in dialogue with high level Government officials to try to negotiate a package of support in the best interests of the people of Liverpool City Region.

“We share the Government’s grave concerns about the increasing pressure on our hospitals and remain absolutely committed to working with the Government to drive down the spread of the Coronavirus and the number of Covid-19 cases.

“For anyone who has been is any doubt about the gravity of the situation we face if we do not bring cases down, the preparations announced this morning to step up the North West NHS Nightingale Hospitals may now be a wake-up call.

“It is therefore now as important as it has ever been that we do everything we can to contain the virus, protect our NHS and save lives.

“However, we want to be clear that there are some things upon which we have been able to agree with the Government, but others where we do not, such as the level of the furlough scheme.

“To assist with efforts to bring the number of cases down, we have gained agreement from government for new, local arrangements and funding support for more localised test, trace and isolate and also enforcement, specifically:

An enforcement package, with laws, not just guidance and advice, and funding and resources to enforce restrictions where necessary.

An effective local Track, Trace and Isolate package with the funding to support it, cooperation on data, local control and the guaranteed supplies and resources required.

“We also welcome the opportunity to engage logistics and capacity support from the Armed Forces, working alongside our own Local Authority staff and Public Health officials.

“These measures will be supported by a specific package of financial support to deliver this for our City Region, covering a six-month period and not dependent upon the Tier position of our City Region.

“In addition to this, we have secured an assurance from the Treasury that in coming to that national position, no Local Authorities placed on Tier 3 restrictions will be put in a position where they are unable to balance their budget this year or to set a legal budget next year. Further discussions will take place as a priority over the coming week.

“However, we must be clear that we have not yet reached an agreement on the wider economic support package that we require.

“The national furlough scheme is inadequate and risks pushing tens of thousands of low paid workers below the national minimum wage, while the direct support to businesses is also less than that offered during the national lockdown.

“Yesterday the Metro Mayor spoke with the Prime Minister and this morning attended COBR where he again reiterated these concerns in the strongest terms.

“We have been assured by government that they will continue to engage in meaningful talks with us on these matters in the coming days and we intend to hold them to that promise. In the meantime, we are looking at what economic support can be provided locally, while we await further national government support.”

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