Downing Street responds to Sheffield City Region's call for support cash

Downing Street has responded to a letter from South Yorkshire leaders calling for extra cash to avoid a ‘huge economic downturn’.

Friday, 16th October 2020, 4:45 pm

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said local authorities placed into different tiers would receive extra financial support based on the number of residents, worth up to almost £500m nationally.

Sheffield entered ‘high alert’ status on Wednesday under new restrictions to control the virus. The biggest is a ban on different households mixing indoors. Many pubs, restaurants and hospitality bosses say without assistance they will be forced to close.

A Downing Street spokesman said the funding was to support local areas and public health teams with their response, including more enforcement, compliance and contact tracing.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Photo credit should read: Toby Melville/PA Wire

He added: "That comes on top of almost £1bn that the Prime Minister announced that we will provide to all local authorities as we talk to them about their needs over this difficult period to help make sure that they can provide the services they need to and that itself comes on top of £3.7bn already provided to local authorities."

But a Sheffield City Region spokeswoman said there was no additional financial support for ‘high alert’ areas.

She added: “Throughout this crisis Mayor Dan Jarvis has been calling on Government to provide local and regional leaders with the resources, powers and investment we need to protect lives and livelihoods in both the short and long term.

“For areas in tier 2 there is currently no additional financial support available for businesses. That is why South Yorkshire’s council leaders and the Mayor have written to the Prime Minister to call for a local lockdown lifeline which protects lives, jobs and businesses. We are continuing to work with Government to get the resources needed to keep the virus under control.”

The SCR letter asks for an immediate injection of funding for services that protect the public, a support package for hospitality, leisure and recreation businesses, support for jobs, additional testing capacity and an increase in support payments for people unable to work because they are self-isolating.

Mr Jarvis has not revealed a total figure that is required, describing it as a ‘negotiation’.

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