Leicester mayor frustrated over delayed decision to lift city lockdown

30 July 2020, 20:54

Sir Peter Soulsby said "we haven&squot;t got a clue what&squot;s going on"
Sir Peter Soulsby said "we haven't got a clue what's going on". Picture: PA

By Matt Drake

The Mayor of Leicester has expressed his frustration over delayed decisions to lift the city's lockdown, saying "what a way to run a country".

The Government is set to review added restrictions imposed on Leicester which was subject to the UK's first full local lockdown since restrictions were eased across the rest of the country.

When asked if there was an update on Leicester's situation, Sir Peter Soulsby said "we haven't got a clue what's going on" - adding that he was "really angry" for people in the city.

The mayor said: "It will be a political decision that will take us out, the same way it was a political decision that brought us into lockdown.

"We haven't got a clue what's going on, we really haven't. We've been messed about all day.

"They were going to make the announcement much earlier in the day, then they were going to make it around 4pm, then 5pm, and now we understand they're not even going to discuss it until 6pm.

"What a way to run a country."

He added that the data shows infections are mostly "in perhaps some 10% of neighbourhoods of the city and the remaining 90% is very largely free of it".

"If we had this before, we could have used it to intervene - as Blackburn and other places are using it to intervene now - with those neighbourhoods to prevent the lockdown ever being necessary," he said.

Sir Peter also claims Leicester's neighbourhoods where Covid-19 infections are high had been joined by a "very angry and very frustrated 90%".

The mayor was expected to be informed of the Government's decision earlier on Thursday.

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Restrictions were originally put in place by Health Secretary Matt Hancock on June 29 after a spike in Covid-19 infections in the city.

The measures were then relaxed as clothing retailers were among those allowed to welcome back customers on July 24.

Bars, restaurants and hairdressers remain closed.

Leicester's mayor said he had been informed of the Government's intentions to discuss the city's restrictions at 6pm.

Expressing his concerns about the uncertainty among the people of Leicester, Sir Peter said: "I'm incredibly frustrated on their behalf.

"I'm particularly frustrated on behalf of the businesses in Leicester because obviously they've now had four weeks of extra lockdown.

"They've been promised extra support from the Secretary of State for Health - he's never delivered on it.

"We've had a bit of a whisper that we may be getting a couple of million extra but frankly that's not going to go anywhere across a city like Leicester.

"After lockdown for an extra four weeks, those businesses are struggling and I'm really angry on their behalf."

It comes after the mayor accused the Government of "picking on Leicester" to make an example of the city.

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