'What happened was forced on us without warning' - Mayor of Middlesbrough on restrictions

1 October 2020, 16:37

By Sam Sholli

Mayor of Middlesbrough Andy Preston has told LBC that the Government has "forced" new local lockdown measures on the town "without warning or discussion".

His comments come after Health Secretary Matt Hancock today announced that extra restrictions to prevent social mixing anywhere apart from public outdoor spaces would be brought in for the Liverpool City Region, Warrington, Hartlepool and Middlesbrough.

Speaking to Shelagh Fogarty, Mr Preston said: "There's a myth being bandied about that they have consulted with elected mayors like me and it's not true. It is categorically untrue. What happened today was forced on us without warning or discussion."

Mr Preston also expressed concern over the impact the new local down measures would have on people's mental health.

He told Shelagh: "We knew that the Government wanted to impose a ban on socialising at home. So we accepted that we can work with that and we said OK we'll live with it.

"But let people meet in their garden, let people meet on the garden path if they're two-metres apart...That social interaction, however trivial that seems, is a lifeline to so many people and that's been taken away."

The Mayor of Middlesbrough went on to show his frustration at how he believes businesses in the town will be affected.

He said: "I'm not being dramatic here, from where I'm stood behind me there are several coffee shops that are clinging on by their fingernails to stay alive and protect jobs and they're going to go.

"People's lives are going to be impacted directly because of this and so much of it was unnecessary."

Earlier today, the Mayor of Middlesbrough also told LBC that he is "exasperated and furious" at the government's decision to impose stricter lockdown rules on the area.

The Government's has also offered £7 million for local authorities to deal with increased restrictions.

However, this has been criticised as is "not enough" and "barely a drop in the ocean" by regional politicians.

Mayor of Liverpool Joe Anderson said he recognised the infection rate was "basically out of control" but said hotels, bars and restaurants in the city were in danger of closing.

The Labour mayor said: "It's nowhere near enough, £7 million wouldn't be enough for Liverpool alone, let alone across the city region."