Council leaders warn that northern cities face ‘complete decimation’ in trade

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Northern cities face ‘complete decimation’ in trade letter from Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester Council leaders

Related tags: Coronavirus, North England

The respective leaders of Liverpool, Leeds and Manchester Council have warned that the North of England faces mass redundancies and boarded-up high streets unless Coronavirus restrictions are reviewed.

In a rare joint letter, the leaders have written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Business Secretary Alok Sharma saying restrictions in the regions were threatening a 'huge, disproportionate' economic impact.

“The stark reality is that these businesses are facing the prospect of a complete decimation in trade," they say.

"Not just in the short term, but as we look ahead to the sector’s traditional lifeblood of the Christmas period and almost certainly continuing into spring/summer of next year, we know with certainty [the restrictions] will result in mass market failure, huge levels of redundancies and depleted and boarded up high streets.”

Coronavirus guidance in the cities, which advise people not to mix with other households, was 'unenforceable' as well as being 'contradictory and confusing', the leaders add.

They urge ministers to make the advice law, and compensate businesses with a package of support; or allow mixing within the 'rule of six' in controlled environments.

A law banning the mixing of households in public spaces - including pubs and restaurants - was announced for parts of northeast England on Monday (28 September), but it remains advice rather than law for other areas in the North.

Leaders of the cities also called for the Government to review the 10pm curfew and discuss concerns with local authorities and businesses in advance.

Manchester-born Jonathan Downey, founder of Hospitality Union, responded saying: “Good letter but Northern city leaders calling for a review of the curfew is political fence-sitting. They should be calling for the curfew to be cancelled. We can all see what a catastrophic mistake this has been for infection control and the economy.”

Yesterday (29 September) a campaign was launched putting pressure on the Government to make a U-turn on its curfew​, in response to the negative impact it is having on the hospitality sector.

Related topics: Business

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