Sheffield City Region mayor calls for economic support as lockdown is extended
Responding to the delay in the easing of lockdown, Dan Jarvis, Mayor of South Yorkshire has said economic support must stay in place for businesses and people on furlough.
This comes after Boris Johnson delayed the easing of restrictions until July 19, four weeks later than ‘freedom day’ was initially intended to be according to the initial roadmap out of lockdown.
Speaking in the Commons today (June 14), Johnson said the decision to delay the lifting of restrictions came after the Government was warned the move could lead to thousands of deaths and unbearable pressure on the NHS.
This warning was prompted by concerns over the rapidly-spreading Delta variant first identified in India.
Experts feared going ahead with Step 4 on June 21 as planned could lead to hospital admissions on the scale of the first wave of Covid-19 heaping unsustainable pressure on the health service.
Following Johnson’s announcement, Dan Jarvis said: “The pandemic has been hard on all of us, but it’s been particularly tough for businesses and people on furlough who have been living with uncertainty for months.
“With the worrying rise in infection rates, the need for a cautious approach is understood, not least to ensure more people get vaccinated.
“But this crisis is not just a health crisis, it’s an economic one, and any delay to the lockdown roadmap must be accompanied by the right support.”
Mayor Jarvis continued: “It’s been a horrendous year for hospitality and for the music and entertainment industry, many of our venues in South Yorkshire have not been able to open for well over a year. Vast amounts of preparation will already have gone into getting ready to reopen on June 21.
"Many will have sold tickets, bought stock and hired staff in preparation.
“If restrictions remain, then support must remain too. That means no drop in furlough payments, no change to business rates relief and no lifting of the safeguards preventing evictions.”
Mr Johnson did, however, announce a limited easing of restrictions to take place from June 21 as he faces the prospect of a rebellion from Conservative MPs who are furious about the delay, inlcuding lifting the cap on wedding guests.