Council leader calls on the Prime Minister to support Hull in Covid-19 'health emergency'

The leader of Hull City Council has urged the Prime Minister to take action after the city's Covid-19 infection rate became one of the highest in England.

Stephen Brady, leader of Hull City Council, has written a personal letter to Boris Johnson with a series of requests for support for the city - stating it has received no contact from central Government about the current "health emergency".

Mr Brady said the infection rate in the city has risen at an "astonishing and terrifying rate" and the council said on Monday that the city's rate stood at 770 per 100,000.

A council spokeswoman said public health officials were warning that the peak in Hull - which has seen 252 coronavirus deaths - is yet to come.

Mr Brady wrote: "I am writing to express my grave concerns about the consequences of the current Covid-19 health emergency in Hull and the absence of central Government support to assist us in overcoming it.

"As I am sure you are aware, our infection rate is now one of the highest in the country and ... the infection rates in our city have increased at a, frankly, astonishing and terrifying rate over the last few weeks."

The council leader continued: "Hull and our people have dealt with some huge challenges in the past, and we have always overcome them, but, on this occasion, as has too frequently been the case in the past, we seem, once again, to be the forgotten city."

Mr Brady said the city's leaders had not received any contact from the Government - despite the rate being more than double that of cities offered support prior to the national lockdown.

He said that the impact of the coronavirus crisis on Hull - the fourth most deprived city in the country - would be "devastating" to its economy and "a vast number of our hard-working people".

He wrote: "As a city pretty much forgotten by national Government for many years, I am asking you to recognise our significance and to stand beside us as we fight to overcome the terrible impacts of this virus that is now ravaging our communities more than anywhere else in our country."

Hull Royal Infirmary Credit: PA

Mr Brady asked Mr Johnson for more freedom to put local restrictions in place, more support from Public Health England, discussions about what will happen in Hull when the planned period of national restrictions end, discussions about financial support for local businesses, and additional support and resources for the area's hospitals.

In a statement, Mr Brady said: "We will not stand by and let Hull be forgotten.

"Yes, we are a resilient city and we've never been short on fighting spirit but that is not enough. Spirit and resilience will not beat this virus - they won't keep our NHS services open, our businesses alive and food in people's mouths.

"I am hopeful that the Prime Minister will take this letter seriously and will urgently speak to us about what the Government will do.

"There is absolutely no justification not to do so, this is a critical moment for our city."

Last week, Hull's director of public health described the situation as a "public health crisis" and Hull Royal Infirmary's emergency department said it had seen a "huge rise" in cases.

On Monday (16th November), the council said there were 188 confirmed Covid-positive patients in hospital in Hull, with a further 38 suspected cases.

  • Read the full letter here.