West Yorkshire Council Leaders respond to Chancellor’s statement

The Leaders of West Yorkshire’s Councils have said the latest announcement from Rishi Sunak does "not go far enough" and will not "prevent real hardship for many people on low incomes in our region".

Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 4:48 pm
Updated Thursday, 22nd October 2020, 4:51 pm

Speaking in the Commons today Chancellor Rishi Sunak said there were “difficult days and weeks ahead”, as he announced businesses in Tier 2 areas will receive further financial support.

Up until now, only businesses in Tier 3 areas that have been forced to close have been granted extra financial support.

However, in a statement released to the Yorkshire Evening Post, the leaders of the councils across West Yorkshire said the new measures do not "go far enough".

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Rishi Sunak PA

They said the announced changes were still "not enough to prevent real hardship" for many people on low incomes in West Yorkshire.

The statement said: "We wrote to the Chancellor last week calling on him to commit to support businesses in areas with Tier Two restrictions. Whilst today’s announcement appears to be a step in the right direction, it does not go far enough.

"Many businesses in Bradford, Calderdale and Kirklees have been operating under these restrictions for some months, so whilst they will welcome the ability to apply for business grants retrospectively from the beginning of August, it is disappointing that only now this need has been recognised by the Government.

"The changes to the Job Support Scheme will make it easier for employers to keep people in work on fewer hours and, having come through a difficult period in the spring and summer, this will be of some relief to employers and their workforce looking at a harsh winter ahead.

"However, it’s still not enough to prevent real hardship for many people on low incomes in our region.

"The Government is expecting people on low salaries to tighten their belts further and live on less than three quarters of their wages.

"We have been clear that we need to strengthen the health measures to keep people safe from the effects of COVID-19 whilst doing as little damage as possible to the economy, jobs and people’s livelihoods.

"We have seen unemployment almost double across our region since March.

"While these new short-term solutions are welcome, we call on the Government to work with us on the long-term solution presented in the West Yorkshire Recovery Plan: an inclusive approach, that will ensure the worst affected by this pandemic are not left ignored."