Liverpool mayor criticises ‘inconsistent mess’ of local lockdown restrictions

Emily Cleary
·3-min read
People walk and gather outside bars the night before a local lockdown amidst the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Liverpool, Britain October 13, 2020. REUTERS/Phil Noble
Revellers took to the streets of Liverpool on Tuesday night as the city region prepared for a Tier 3 local lockdown (REUTERS/Phil Noble)

The mayor of Liverpool has taken to Twitter to blast Westminster for what he calls the “inconsistent mess” that is the three tier system to tackle coronavirus.

Joe Anderson wrote: “Liverpool City Region has demanded immediate clarification on why Lancashire Gyms are allowed to stay open and Liverpools close. Inconsistent mess we now have Tier 3 A and Tier 3 B. Are Gym users in Lancashire more safer than those in Liverpool Region.”

Anderson used the hashtag #shambles to emphasise his point.

The attack came after Lancashire was moved up into Tier 3 - the top level of COVID restrictions - from Saturday.

The ‘very high’ alert level measures include pub closures and bans on household mixing indoors, in private gardens and most outdoor venues.

However, Geoff Driver, leader of Lancashire County Council, said gyms would not close, unlike in Liverpool - the only other area in England currently in Tier 3.

Matt Hancock said the government had "worked intensively with local leaders" to agree the move.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson during the Netball World Cup at the M&S Bank Arena, Liverpool. (Photo by Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images)
Joe Anderson has hit out at the government for creating an "inconsistent mess" with the three tier system (Nigel French/PA Images via Getty Images)

He added that an "unrelenting rise in cases" in the area had meant "we must act now".

Around 1.5 million people will be affected by the new rules, which includes Blackpool, Blackburn, Preston and Lancaster.

Driver told the BBC: "It's been a long drawn out process but I think we've got a good deal."

"What we've been able to do is to convince government that the measures we have in place to monitor such things as the gyms and the leisure centres are sufficient to ensure that they're not a source of infection."

Anderson’s attack comes after a bitter row between Manchester mayor Andy Burnham and central government escalated, with Burnham threatening legal action if the government forced a Tier 3 status on the city.

A woman wearing a face-mask walks past graffiti declaring that 'the north is not a petri dish' after Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham threatened legal action if Tier 3 restrictions are imposed on the city without agreement, in Picadilly Gardens, central Manchester on October 16, 2020, as the number of cases of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 rises. - The government on Thursday announced more stringent measures but as ministers tightened the screw on social interaction to cut close-contact transmission, they sparked a furious row with leaders in northwest England, where infection rates are highest. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham accused the government of being "willing to sacrifice jobs and businesses here to try and save them elsewhere". (Photo by Oli SCARFF / AFP) (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
The government has announced more stringent lockdown measures but as ministers tightened the screw on social interaction to cut close-contact transmission, they sparked a furious row with leaders in the north of England (Photo by Oli Scarff / AFP)

Talks between the region’s leaders and central government over putting Greater Manchester into Tier 3 have stalled.

Burnham wants more financial support for people affected before bringing in tougher rules, but on Friday Dominic Raab accused him of holding the government “over a barrel”.

Watch: Greater Manchester leaders fuming as they 'unanimously reject' Tier 3 plan

Raab told BBC Breakfast: “We can’t have a situation as we have seen in Manchester where Andy Burnham is effectively trying to hold the Government over a barrel over money and politics when actually we need to take action.”

Having locked down much of the north the government has been accused of creating a north/south divide and Anderson’s Tweet served to further the rift, despite Boris Johnson having praised him earlier in the week for “co-operation” with the tier system.

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