New lockdown measures ''confusing'' for West Yorkshire residents, council leader says

  • Bradford Leader Cllr Susan Hinchcliffe speaking to ITV Calendar

The announcement of new coronavirus measures is "confusing" for West Yorkshire residents who had been preparing for Tier 3 restrictions on Monday, the leader of Bradford Council has said.

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe said she had been assured there would not be a national lockdown during discussions with the Government last week about West Yorkshire entering the very high level of coronavirus measures.

Following the announcement of new national measures by the Prime Minister on Saturday, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority said the area would no longer enter Tier 3 on Monday as planned.

Ms Hinchcliffe said: "I asked the Secretary of State twice last week whether the country was going into national lockdown and was told firmly no.

"This latest Government announcement, coming only two days after the announcement that Bradford and West Yorkshire was to enter Tier 3 very high restrictions, will understandably therefore be confusing for residents and businesses alike.

"All the Tier 3 regulations we briefed residents and businesses on on Friday are now irrelevant and we must wait for fresh information from Government on Monday.

"Just a couple of days ago Government were impressing upon us, as leaders in West Yorkshire, that the health emergency was very urgent.

"The new Tier 3 restrictions were therefore due to start Monday. Now we hear it's going to be national restrictions from Thursday.

"If it was urgent on Thursday, it's certainly urgent today and I would therefore make a plea to all residents and businesses to be extra careful from now on, don't wait until Thursday to exercise extra caution."

Signs suggest cases could be shrinking. Credit: PA

On Thursday, it was announced the two million residents in Leeds, Bradford, Calderdale, Wakefield and Kirklees would be subject to Tier 3 restrictions from Monday, after local authorities agreed a financial support package from the Government worth an additional £59.3 million.

In a joint statement, leaders from West Yorkshire Combined Authority said they had received "verbal assurances" the support package would still be provided, but were awaiting written confirmation.

The statement said: "We have worked hard over the last few days to advocate for the people and businesses of West Yorkshire.

"It is imperative that Government now honours the financial commitments made to the people and businesses of the region during these discussions in writing again now."

Leaders said they wanted to clear up "understandable confusion" about measures and explained the area would remain in Tier 2 restrictions until national measures came into force.

They added: "The residents and businesses of West Yorkshire had only just begun to prepare for Tier 3 measures to hit on Monday, and they are now having to change their plans once again."

Ms Hinchcliffe urged residents to stay at home if they could, wash their hands and wear face coverings indoors ahead of the introduction of new measures next week.

She added: "The infection rate is extremely high and our hospitals are getting an increasing number of admissions.

"We are determined to work with our West Yorkshire partners to make sure we get the right support for our area so that we limit the damage these restrictions will cause for businesses and communities.''