Liverpool faces restrictions
Mr Anderson, 62, said it would have been reckless to ignore the rising infection cases, but warned: “The health and wellbeing of the nation is crucial, but so is the economic wellbeing of the UK too. Disappointingly, the Government seem to have a red line on proper furlough terms for businesses their new Tier 3 closes. These new furlough terms that only pay two-thirds of wages are simply unfair to lowest-paid workers. It’s a massive kick in the teeth and struggle for them.
“Businesses are going to close and not come back. I worry they could end up laying off thousands of people.
“That means people out of work needing benefits to support themselves and fewer businesses, meaning less business rates for us – it’s a double whammy.”
Mr Anderson added: “The 1980s was a decade of despair but I can see a new winter of discontent coming.”
He later tweeted: “There are 250 people currently in the Royal Liverpool Hospital, 3,000 people infected, 700 new cases in last week and doubling. Ignoring that and doing nothing is reckless.”
Liverpool’s mayor Joe Anderson
Liverpool has the highest number of coronavirus hospital admissions in England and is feared to have Europe’s third highest number of Covid hospital patients.
It is understood 20 percent of hospital admissions caused by the virus is a tipping point which could harm their ability to cope with regular medical cases.
On Saturday the number was 15 percent, which will have increased in the last 24-36 hours.
Liverpool Metro mayor Steve Rotheram said the economic effect of a Tier 3 lockdown would be massive.
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He told BBC News: “While the Chancellor did the right thing in March when there was a national lockdown and had packages of support that reflected the severity of those lockdown measures, Tier 3 is probably similar to what happened all the way back in March.
“There is comparable lockdown issues in each of those two dates. We are not getting anywhere near what the national lockdown restrictions got in regard to a financial package all those months ago.
“If it was right then, it has to be right now. And that is what we are in detailed negotiations with Government to try and sort out.”
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, below, which escaped the worst measures by going into high-risk Tier 2, said: “We had no evidence that hospitality was the primary course of spread in our city region.
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
“However any restrictions will choke off trade to our pubs, restaurants, even our shops so [they] must come with a full economic support otherwise we are going to see redundancies and business failure running up to Christmas.”
The measures come into force from tomorrow, when Liverpool City Region will be placed under the very high risk level on the Government’s Covid chart.
Town halls will be able to introduce further restrictions including closing gyms, casinos and betting shops if needed.
Labour MP and shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth, whose Leicester South constituency is in the high tier of restrictions, backed the measures but said he was “sceptical” they will drive down infections.
He said: “With rising hospital admissions including into critical care, will today’s announcements be enough?
“Lockdowns are blunt tools but buy time. We should use that time to expand testing and fix tracing.”
West Midlands Tory mayor Andy Street said he was “very disappointed” areas including Birmingham, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton would be classified as high risk.
Meanwhile Liverpool businesses demanded more clarity over who must shut and or keep trading.
Hairdresser Adele Allan, of Wavertree, said: “People are frightened and worried. There’s total confusion.”
At the nearby TriBeCa bar, manager Niall Scott said that as it sells pizzas he is not sure if it can stay open.
He said: “We’re always planning ahead for the week, ordering thousands of pounds worth of food and drink. We need guidance.”
Connor O’Brien, who runs gyms in the city centre, said closure was “catastrophic and heartbreaking”.
He said no virus cases had been traced to his gyms since they reopened and insisted science and data “does not justify this closure”.
A joint statement by Mr Rotheram, Mr Anderson and the leaders of Liverpool City Region’s six local authorities said: “Since we were first informed by the Government… they would be placing the Liverpool City Region on to 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… to try to negotiate a package of support in the best interests of the people.
“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.”