Funding announced for local authorities hit by new restrictions 'nowhere near enough'

The Liverpool City Region will be under tightened restrictions.
Politicians in the Liverpool City Region have criticised the amount of funding being given to support businesses. Credit: Csbphotography

The Government's offer of £7 million for local authorities to deal with increased restrictions is "not enough", regional politicians have said.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced on Thursday that extra restrictions to prevent social mixing anywhere apart from public outdoor spaces would be brought in for the Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

He told the Commons: "We will provide £7 million to local authorities in these areas to support them with their vital work."

Mayor of Liverpool, Joe Anderson, has criticised the lack of funding. Credit: PA

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson told BBC Merseyside the amount was a "drop in the ocean".

He said he recognised the infection rate was "basically out of control" but said hotels, bars and restaurants in the city were in danger of closing.

The Labour mayor said: "It's nowhere near enough, £7 million wouldn't be enough for Liverpool alone, let alone across the city region.

"It's got to be in the hundreds of millions that we need to support businesses to survive just for a matter of weeks.

"A local lockdown is fine if it helps curtail the virus but there has to be a local furlough financial scheme for local businesses to survive.

"The city and the city region are in a desperate position financially and we need that financial support and we need it now."

Labour MP for Wallasey Angela Eagle said: "The £7 million announced today for local councils to deal with the increased restrictions is simply not enough and Labour MPs have called for a far more substantial financial package to be introduced for the area, especially with the ending of the furlough scheme.

"I completely understand the need for additional measures to be brought in, but the Government's chaotic approach risks people's livelihoods and their lives."

Leaders have also questioned if the new restrictions are tough enough. Credit: PA

Steve Rotheram, the Metro Mayor for the Liverpool City Region, has questioned whether the new restrictions are tough enough to stop the spread of the virus.

In a joint statement, Mr Rotheram and the leaders of the city region's six authorities said: "The measures announced today are a step in the right direction but we need to understand whether they are enough to really address the escalating cases in our city region.

"Therefore, we are requesting that the Government provide us with scientific evidence so we can understand if these measures will be sufficient to prevent the spread of the virus.

"In addition, we are also aware that without appropriate financial support from the Government restrictions will damage business and industries - in many cases irretrievably - when in normal times they are perfectly viable."