Northern Labour councils in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester have said that the current restrictions are “not working” in a letter to Mr Hancock, the BBC reports.
The letter includes a plan that asks for more local control in decision-making, better compensation for firms, and no economic restrictions. According to the Public Health England Data, Manchester has the highest rate of infection in England, at 495.6 cases per 100,000 in the week to 1st October. Leeds had seen a sharp rise in cases, despite the local restrictions in place.
Judith Blake of Leeds City Council, Liverpool council leader Joe Anderson, Nick Forbes of Newcastle City Council, and Manchester’s Sir Richard Leese said in their letter that they were “extremely concerned” over the sharp rise in infections in their cities, and the “national response” including the 16,000 unreported cases.
The council leaders are instead asking for a more sound, localised Test and Trace system – as well as additional powers to punish those who break rules. In the letter, they also ask for an improved compensation package to support those most affected “as our cities stand to lose tens of thousands of jobs”.
Financial support for everyone that is having to self-isolate “should recognise additional support needs in our cities with higher levels of deprivation and not be distributed on a per head of population”. The letter also goes on to ask for improved monitoring of the added restrictions to understand their effect on the COVID-19 rate.
The leaders said, “The existing restrictions are not working, confusing for the public and some, like the 10pm rule, are counter-productive.”
“It is critical to the future of our local – and therefore the nation’s – economic wellbeing that we look to work together to deliver a joined up and effective response for our cities and the country”.