• Eamonn Watson

HOW THE DEAL WAS DONE

Updated: Oct 16

After a week of negotiation, local authorities in Lancashire agreed to a support deal, which moved the whole county to a Tier Three restricted area from 00.01 Saturday, 17th October.

WHAT'S THE DEAL?


The county secured £42m as a package of financial support for businesses, the care sector and schools. Initially, only £12m was on the table.


Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.


However a concession was won in that would be no closure of gyms and leisure centres.


In addition to the base line Tier Three restrictions from Monday 19th October at 00.01: -


The adult gaming industry, casinos, bingo halls, bookmakers and betting shops, and soft play areas must close and car boot sales will not be permitted


The restrictions will be reviewed every 14 days.


The county secured £42m as a package of financial support for businesses, the care sector and schools. Initially, only £12m was on the table.


WHAT ARE THE RULES IN A TIER THREE AREA?


LANCS TOP-UP PLAN LOOKS PROBLEMATIC

MIXED REACTION


As details emerged of how the negotiations played out, it was claimed that if Lancashire had not voted for Tier Three, the government would have forced the measures through and closed hairdressers and beauty salons as well.


West Lancashire Borough Council Leader, Ian Moran revealed, “The Government have now offered £30m( extra), but tell us that if we don’t move to Tier 3 now they will impose it on us anyway and provide less financial support. They threatened us with much stricter closures if we don’t sign up, including the closure of our leisure centres and gyms and possibly hairdressers and beauty salons. I believe if they imposed these measures many would close and never return.”


“We have been placed in an impossible situation of deciding between the numbers of lives affected and lost in either scenario. Our COVID numbers are rising day by day and we must do something to address this, but we must protect our local economy, the long term mental health of our workforce and residents along with the risks of poverty that could come through job losses."


"The money we have secured we argue must be provided immediately to enable the council to support our most vulnerable residents, and the businesses and workers directly impacted upon.


Matthew Brown, Leader of Preston City Council said, "There are a number of other leaders that weren’t convinced – but it was Hobson’s choice. They have bullied us into a position where we have got a poor deal and it would have been even poorer if we stayed out of it.


I was told we’d be an island where people potentially couldn’t travel outside of the city. The funding package we have got for Lancashire also wouldn’t have applied to Preston, putting the rest of the county on favourable terms – and potentially more businesses would have shut in the city,”


Geoff Driver, Leader of Lancashire County Council was more positive and hinted that the additional funds may well be utilised to provide local support for suppliers of the closed businesses too, as their customers shut their doors for the foreseeable future.


"When you consider where we started it’s a really good deal.Perhaps the most significant thing, in addition to the £12m we get from the £8 per head that goes to Tier 3 authorities we’ve negotiated a package of £30m to help us introduce measures to help the businesses that are suffering and most importantly the people who work in those businesses.”

WHAT SUPPORT IS THERE IN TIER THREE? :-


The Very High tier will benefit from the proposed financial compensation package of 67% furlough for all staff, and Local Restrictions Support Grant whilst venues remain closed.


STAFF FURLOUGH


BUSINESSES FORCED TO CLOSE - GRANT SUPPORT


TIER 3 VERY HIGH


The Government has set a baseline of measures for any area in this local alert level. Consultation with each local authorities will determine additional measures.


The minimum baseline means the below additional measures are in place:

  • Pubs and bars must close, and can only remain open where they operate as if they were a restaurant - which means serving substantial meals, like a main lunchtime or evening meal. They may only serve alcohol as part of such a meal.

  • Wedding receptions are not allowed

  • People must not meet with anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. The Rule of Six applies in open public spaces like parks and beaches.

  • People should try to avoid travelling outside the ‘Very High’ area they are in, or entering a ‘Very High’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities or if they are in transit.

  • People should avoid staying overnight in another part of the UK if they are resident in a ‘Very High’ area, or avoid staying overnight in a ‘Very High’ area if they are resident elsewhere.

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