The leader of Bradford Council, Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, says it is clear from their conversations so far that Government are unflinching in their resolve to put Bradford and West Yorkshire into Tier 3.
In a statement this afternoon Cllr Hinchcliffe said:
"I have asked the Government the following questions:
What is the exit strategy for leaving Tier 3?
What is your guarantee that these new restrictions will work?
What are your plans if Tier 3 doesn’t control infection rates in the country?
With increasing rates of poverty, particularly for our young people and families, where is your jobs and business recovery plan for the North?
“I am extremely concerned about the rising infection figures. Our hospitals are getting full and the number of vulnerable people contracting the virus is very high. We know that deaths will follow. As a Council we have got people working night and day to keep people safe and to keep getting the message out to stay apart, wash your hands and cover your face. We will continue to do everything in our power to preserve life. But we are also very concerned about rising mental health issues in our population, where people are finding prolonged isolation a hard burden to bear. We are acutely aware and thankful to the vast majority of residents and businesses who are continuing to keep to the rules after many months of being in local restrictions. You have helped to stop the rate rising even further than it might have done.
“Our local residents and our local businesses need certainty about whether we are going into Tier 3 or not. Whilst Government only called us in for a meeting about Tier 3 at the beginning of this week, I know that continued national media stories have led residents and businesses to speculate for some time about whether West Yorkshire would be next after seeing neighbouring regions go into Tier 3.
“Crucially, it is still not clear what support the Government will make available to businesses by way of compensation across the region if we go into Tier 3. Government has told us that it is a “template package” which has been given to other regions with no room for negotiation – the financial amount is fixed. Ministers have promised to clarify the support package for businesses in a further planned meeting. I am worried about people’s jobs, having a large number of low paid workers who can ill afford a cut in wages. In West Yorkshire the claimant count has doubled since COVID and the end of this month will see a further anticipated rise in unemployment as furlough comes to an end.
“Lives and livelihoods are important. We will continue to do our best for both in these very difficult times. But please stay apart, cover your face and wash your hands. Stay safe.”