Leader vows to support local businesses as Tier 3 announcement expected

Published Wednesday 14 October 2020 at 14:37

The leaders of Lancashire councils (Blackburn with Darwen, LCC, Blackpool and district councils) are continuing to negotiate with the government today as an announcement about Lancashire being upgraded to Tier 3 of the new Covid alert levels is expected.

This would either put the whole of Lancashire into the ‘very high’ Covid alert level, or just some areas. Given Blackburn with Darwen’s case numbers, it is likely we would be one of the areas placed in Tier 3.

Alongside other Lancashire leaders, Councillor Mohammed Khan CBE, Leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, has promised to fight for the best deal to provide financial support for the borough’s businesses and residents.

Councillor Khan said:

When the government announced its new three tiers of Coronavirus restrictions on Monday, Lancashire was placed into Tier 2. However, we were warned that the area could be upgraded to Tier 3 within days, due to the escalating number of positive cases in most Lancashire boroughs, including here in Blackburn with Darwen.

I know how anxious people are and how disappointed they will be that further restrictions will be imposed on us. But we need to get the virus under control.

Admissions to hospital are increasing and sadly, it is inevitable that we will see an increase in deaths related to the disease. We can only get the virus under control if we get the funding, the support and the powers that allows us to do that effectively.

For this Council, it is vital that we work hard to negotiate the best possible support package for Blackburn with Darwen businesses and residents. Alongside other Lancashire authority leaders, I will be pushing for financial support for those businesses that have to close or restrict their operations, and for local residents who cannot work while they self-isolate.

This is an absolute priority for me. We know that moving up to Tier 3 has the potential to cause hardship for thousands of local residents and business owners in what has already been a very tough year. We vow to keep fighting for a support package that cushions the blow of the additional restrictions that Tier 3 will bring.

We will also be asking for more resources and more powers to take enforcement action.

The Council knows its area and its residents better than Whitehall, which is why we need a package of resources and support to work with partners to deliver a truly local plan to get this virus under control.

The government imposing restrictions without the necessary tools and without proper negotiation would be wholly wrong.

I know people are sick and tired. I know the frustrations residents and businesses have as we have been under some form of restrictions for months. But once again I urge everyone to act responsibly and follow the guidance to keep everyone safe.

Tier 3 restrictions include:

  • No socialising with anyone you don’t live with both indoors
  • Outdoors, you must not socialise in a group of more than 6
  • Exercises classes and organised sport can only take place outside
  • Non-essential travel should be avoided
  • Pubs and bars must close, however hospitality businesses operating as a restaurant may remain open.

There’s detailed information about the restrictions under each of the government’s new Covid alert levels on the gov.uk website.

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