Landlord calls for more clarity
A senior Conservative on Leeds City Council is the latest voice in the city calling on the Government to give more clarity over Covid-19 restrictions.
It follows a letter sent to Health Secretary Matt Hancock by civic leaders in Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester earlier this week, calling for a change to the new lockdown restrictions which they warn will cripple the local economies further.
And, although he added his party’s Government was working hard to drive down infections, Leeds Conservatives deputy leader Coun Alan Lamb believes many hospitality businesses would “struggle to survive” if the current rules existed for much longer.
Coun Lamb, who also works as a pub landlord in Walton, said: “It is clear that the Government are trying to do all they can to curb infections and
prevent a damaging second wave which could lead to another national lockdown. Protecting public health must continue to be our top priority.
“However it’s also vital that businesses are supported through what looks like being a challenging Autumn and Winter period and are given every chance to continue trading.
“From personal experience I know how challenging it has been for the hospitality sector in particular, and I applaud the vast majority of businesses who are acting responsibly, adapting and maintaining safe environments.
“Under the current arrangements, however, I think many in the sector will struggle to survive if this is what they have to deal with for an extended period of time.”
The Government announced last Friday that Leeds would be subject to further Covid-19 restrictions, with individuals no longer being allowed to meet those from other households indoors, while advising households should not meet outdoors either. It follows further government restrictions moving closing times for pubs and restaurants back to 10pm.
This led to a letter signed by Leeds City Council leader Coun Judith Blake, among other leaders, calling on the Government to review the rules, claiming the current situation could “create a position which is the worst of both worlds”.
Coun Lamb said that while there was only so much that authorities could do to stop individuals from spreading the virus, he supported the “thrust” of the letter.
He said: “It is an incredibly difficult balancing act for the Government as it tries to keep people safe from Covid and at the same time protect the economy. I think we would support the thrust of the letter from local leaders to the Government.
“It’s right that we look at how the rules are operating in Leeds to see if they are having the intended effects, and if greater clarity and certainty for businesses can be provided, then I’m sure that would be welcomed by all concerned.
“We would support a sensible evidence-based review of how the local rules are working on the ground in Leeds, including how we can best support the hospitality sector to keep trading whilst preventing a rise in infections. It’s also important that local authorities like Leeds continue to play their part and work with Government to get the right suite of measures that can most effectively support our individual local areas.
“Having said this, Government and councils can only do so much, and it’s important that we also urge the public at large to do their bit and behave responsibly.”