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Liverpool Could Be ‘Overrun With Sickness And Death’, Warns Mayor

Written by on October 14, 2020

Article Published on Wednesday October 14, 2020 4:05 PM by

Liverpool Could Be ‘Overrun With Sickness And Death’, Warns Mayor

Steve Rotheram, Liverpool city region mayor

Liverpool City Region mayor Steve Rotheram has said the area could be “overrun with sickness and death” if people do not stick to Boris Johnson’s “tier 3” local lockdown. 

The Labour politician warned Merseyside was at a “dangerous moment” as cases spike among the elderly, and hit out at “shameful” pictures of crowds partying in the city on Tuesday before pubs closed for up to six months. 

Rotheram stressed that the restrictions had been “done to us, not with us” but that people must adhere to them. 

He said, during a joint virtual press conference with Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham on Wednesday: “I realise that people are frustrated with the new measures. 

“No one wants to curtail the freedoms or damage the economy or the sectors in our city region and cause hardship for anyone.

“But we have tier 3 restrictions in place from today and they are the law.

“We have to all abide by them, just as we did in March, and everybody needs to take it as seriously as we did back then. We had no choice but the alternative is to see our city region overrun with sickness and death.”

Tier 3 is the most stringent local lockdown and includes the closure of pubs, gyms and casinos.

Burnham said a national circuit-breaker would be a “better and fairer way” of tackling the pandemic, as he said Manchester would refuse to accept tier 3 without a furlough scheme that saw the state pay 80% of lost wages. 

As it stands, the tier 3 scheme sees the Treasury pay up to two-thirds.

Labour leader Keir Starmer has called on the government to implement a national lockdown, something which Boris Johnson refused to rule out on Wednesday in the Commons. 

Burnham told a press conference: “We wouldn’t accept tier 3 on the current terms.

“I’ve been quite clear that [we need] an 80% furlough across all of the industries closed but also those industries facing an indirect major loss of trade, [and] a self-employment scheme at 80% for everyone – freelancers and others – who are affected by these proposals. It’s a proper business support scheme to stop businesses with cash flow problems going bust.

“Until anything like that is on the table we would not be able to accept the tier 3 proposal because they’re asking us to commit an act of self-harm and levelling down our economy.

“I think that [a circuit-breaker] is more likely to succeed for three reasons.

“It is being done nationally so there isn’t that opportunity for a neighbouring area to bring cases back into a tier 3 area.”

He said it would also be beneficial because regions would get national support, and it would bring cases down further to allow local areas to “reset” the Test and Trace programme.

“That’s why I’ve come down to the view that a circuit-breaker of the kind being proposed by the leader of the opposition would be a better and a fairer way of keeping the country together, not accentuating regional divides and actually give us a chance of facing this winter with more control of Test and Trace,” he said.

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Liverpool Could Be ‘Overrun With Sickness And Death’, Warns Mayor
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