Boris Johnson urged to throw Sheffield city region a 'local lockdown lifeline'

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has been urged to throw a ‘local lockdown lifeline’ to South Yorkshire.

Sheffield City Region Mayor Dan Jarvis has joined with the four council leaders in Sheffield, Rotherham, Doncaster and Barnsley to call for Government support ahead of additional restrictions expected to be imposed next week in a bid to halt the spread of coronavirus.

In a letter, they said: “Without additional support we face a huge economic downturn which will impact the people and businesses of South Yorkshire for decades to come.

Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis (Pic: Chris Etchells)

“Rather than levelling up, the Government risks doubling down on health, social and economic inequality and entrenching it for generations to come.

“We stand ready to work with you to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and ensure South Yorkshire pulls through this, together.”

The letter was sent yesterday as Sheffield City Council said additional restrictions in the city were ‘expected’.

It set out a five-point plan for supporting the region and said: “Before additional restrictions come into force, we are calling for a local lockdown lifeline for South Yorkshire.

“This means ensuring we have the resources, powers and investment we need to protect jobs and the economy in both the short and long term.

“This will also ensure we have a clear route out of local restrictions, so we can get on with the job of rebuilding our economy and society.”

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The leaders said their plan involves as immediate injection of funding for services ‘which protect the public, stop the spread of the virus in communities and ensure the latest guidance is reaching residents and is understood’.

They want a targeted support package for businesses in the hospitality, leisure and recreation sectors that are unable to operate normally, or face closure.

The leaders are also calling for support for jobs, through ‘local furlough’ for workers in businesses unable to operate or who see their hours cut.

They want additional testing capacity and for local directors of public health to be put ‘in the driving seat with Test and Trace’.

The government is also urged to increase the eligibility criteria for support payments for people unable to work because they are self-isolating.

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