COVID impacts 'felt more in Merseyside than anywhere else' say council leaders

The impacts of coronavirus will be felt more in Merseyside than anywhere else in the country, the area's leaders have claimed in a letter to the Prime Minister.

In the letter, Liverpool City Region metro mayor Steve Rotheram and leaders of Liverpool, Wirral, Knowsley, Sefton, St Helens and Halton councils said the region was facing the biggest challenge of the UK to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and could face a funding gap of almost £250 million.

The politicians said factors including a high prevalence of illnesses such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), high levels of deprivation and high demand for adult social care meant the area, which has experienced higher than average infection and mortality rates, would be worse off than others.

Mr Rotheram said:

Steve Rotheram. Credit: ITV News

Council leaders said their authorities were spending an extra #10 million a week to protect residents and, with the loss of more than #5 million a week to the combined authority in transport revenues, the region was facing a bill of £341 million over six months.

They said £100 million allocated from central Government will only cover 30% of their needs.

Mr Rotheram said:

In the letter, leaders said the funding allocated was "wholly insufficient" and "damages the prospects of a swift recovery."

They called on Boris Johnson to recognise the need for additional funding for the area, which has an economy heavily reliant on culture, retail and tourism, as well as manufacturing.

The letter said: