Northern mayors call on Government for financial support for workers affected by new lockdown

Northern mayors have penned an open letter to the Government asking for financial support for workers affected by any new lockdowns.

Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Javis, added his name to the letter, which calls for the Government to improve the offer to pay workers two thirds of their wages if they are affected by any further Covid restrictions, including local lockdowns.

The Government is set to announce extra measures needed to halt the spread of coronavirus next week, with fears for how the hospitality and other industries may be affected.

The letter said: “We cannot understand why people whose place of work is forced to close by Government imposed restrictions are only being offered two thirds of their wages. While it may be possible for people on middle or higher earnings to live on two thirds of their salary, that is not the case for the low-paid staff who work in hospitality.”

Sheffield City Region Mayor, Dan Jarvis

It continued: “Earlier this year, the Government set its national furlough scheme at 80 per cent. We can see no justifiable reason why the local furlough scheme should be set at 67 per cent. To accept it would be to treat hospitality workers as second-class citizens and we think that is wrong.

“We also have serious concerns that the local furlough scheme will be limited to businesses forced to shut. There are many other businesses who supply the hospitality sector who will see their own trade collapse if their customers are to close.

“We believe that any local furlough scheme should be much more widely available to businesses in areas with the highest level of restrictions who can demonstrate a severe impact on trade arising from them.

“It is also regrettable that there is no additional support on offer for people who are self-employed.”

It claimed many businesses are on a ‘knife-edge’.

“We fail to understand why a local lockdown does not attract a business support package equal to that provided during national lockdown given that the effect is the same,” the letter said.

“To accept the Chancellor’s package at this point would be to surrender our residents, your constituents, to severe hardship in the run-up to Christmas. We are not prepared to do that.”