West Midlands Mayor Andy Street Says There's An "Immediate" Threat To Jobs In Birmingham After It Was Put Tier 3
Mayor of the West Midlands Andy Street has hit out at the government over its "very disappointing" decision to put Birmingham in Tier 3 and claims there is now an immediate threat to jobs.
Close to three million people live in the West Midlands with Birmingham and the Black Country authorites of Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton, as well as Coventry and Solihull, all placed under the strictest measures.
Street, who is a Conservative, said considering the West Midlands is the second largest regional economy in the UK, "our success matters" to the whole country.
He said given the "immediate threat" to people's jobs in the wake of today's announcement he will be asking for additional support.
This includes raising the exisiting £3000 monthly grant scheme for medium and large businesses that will be forced to close, particularly in the hospitality sector.
He wants a financial package for the conference and exhibition centre specifically, which could include an extension of business rates relief beyond March.
Self-employed people who currently miss out on government assistance should also be given financial support, he said.
Clear scientific evidence should also be provided explaining why the hospitality sector will be shut in Tier 3, and also the thresholds that need to be met to move into Tier 2 at the next available opportunity, he added.
He Tweeted: "Tier Three for the WM is very disappointing, but we must now focus on getting out ASAP. The trajectory is good, and our stay should be short-lived if people stick to the rules. However more support is needed whilst in T3, particularly for the hospitality and live events sectors."
On calls to see the epidemiological evidence behind hospitality closures, the Prime Minister's official spokesperson said scientific experts had said in the past that the virus can have an impact in indoor areas and where people congregate in large numbers.
The claim the monthly grant scheme is insufficient for medium and larger businesses, the official spokesman said the Chancellor had set out the finanical support available to firms and it has been extended to April next year, including furlough.
The BirminghamLive reported today that Birmingham has a coronavirus rate of 342 per 100,000 people. Walsall is 332, Wolverhampton is 352.
The case rate for the entire West Midlands is 305 per 100,000 and 181 for London.