Clive Betts MP
Thoughts on Sheffield entering Tier 3 under the Governments new local Covid-19 restrictions
This morning we learnt that South Yorkshire will be placed into Tier Three regarding Coronavirus restrictions. I wanted to provide my view on the discussions and where this leaves the Sheffield South East constituency as well as the South Yorkshire more broadly.
I believe the context is important here. Even before this announcement came my office has had hundreds of emails a day from constituents struggling with how Covid-19 and lockdowns have altered all our lives. The prevailing theme throughout has been a chronic lack of Government funding for local authorities and a refusal to delegate track and trace to local public health officials. The announcement of only £41 million today hammered home this legacy which shows complete disregard and lack of understanding of South Yorkshire.
This £41 million is not enough. It is not enough for businesses who are being forced to close and it is not enough for individuals who lose their wages while self-isolating. This is along with the delayed funding for a local track and trace which we should have had months ago.
Rather than discussing with local leaders about the particular needs of South Yorkshire the Government has prescribed an amount based on a formula they have yet to publicly disclose.
This take it or leave it approach the Government have decided to follow with local authorities and administrations shows complete contempt both for the region, and the sacrifice we have all made over the past several months.
Manchester is not Liverpool, South Yorkshire is not Lancashire. Over and over again this Government fails to recognise any difference other than the North/South divide and just prescribe the regions with money they claim is the product of some formula that we know nothing about.
In the face of a regional lockdown that has no clear end in sight we have been provided with a complete lack of support from a Government who have said time and time again they would do whatever it takes to help local authorities. It seems that pledge could not even last a couple of months before they returned to chronically underfunding Northern local authorities.
I am so tired of this Government promising the world then leaving us with nothing that I am no longer surprised. It is incredibly sad and I can only predict that my office will be receiving many more constituents who have been completely let down by this Government.
Sheffield and South Yorkshire need and deserve more and the Government is not listening.