Leicester Mercury

Pressure on PM to find more cash


SOUTH YORKSHIRE will be the latest region placed into Tier 3 coronaviru­s restrictio­ns as Boris Johnson came under renewed pressure to increase financial help for areas under the toughest curbs.

The region will receive a £41 million package of funding, but Sheffield City Council’s leader Julie Dore pleaded with ministers to “do the right thing” and offer extra support to all Tier 3 areas.

The deal with South Yorkshire comes after bitter wrangling over money with Greater Manchester led to the highest level of restrictio­ns being imposed from Whitehall without an agreement.

The Prime Minister told MPs he would now bypass Greater Manchester’s mayor Andy Burnham and offer £60 million to local councils.

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer called for a clear framework setting out the support on offer to regions in Tier 2 and Tier 3 of the coronaviru­s measures rather than “grubby, take-it-or-leave it” deals.

The restrictio­ns in South Yorkshire, which will cover around 1.4 million people in Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield, will come into force on Saturday

morning. Sheffield’s leader Ms Dore said: “We will continue to push Government to provide enough support for people and businesses as they are now placing us in these measures which will have such serious consequenc­es for the people most impacted.

“It is not too late to do the right thing to support people in Sheffield, South Yorkshire and all the people currently going into Tier 3 across the country and I would plead with Government to increase the levels of support they are providing for Tier 3.”

Sheffield Heeley MP and shadow cabinet minister Louise Haigh claimed “Tory ministers are treating the North with contempt”.

Sheffield City Region’s Labour mayor

Dan Jarvis said: “The number of people with Covid in our hospitals has doubled over the last 10 days, with no signs this will relent over the coming weeks. “Inaction was not an option.” Officials said that in South Yorkshire, case rates range from 285 people per 100,000 in Doncaster up to 402 people per 100,000 in Sheffield.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said: “A failure to act now would only lead to tougher and longer lasting restrictio­ns later.

“I understand the sacrifice people in South Yorkshire have already made and the enormous impact further measures will have on people’s lives.

“That is why we are also providing support to businesses and contact tracing activity across South Yorkshire.”

The financial package agreed by Sheffield City Region with the Government includes £30 million to support the region’s businesses and £11 million for councils for measures such as test and trace.

The announceme­nt means means 7.3 million people, or 13% of England’s population, will now be living under Tier 3 restrictio­ns.

 ??  ?? Boris Johnson in the Commons yesterday
Boris Johnson in the Commons yesterday

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