Boris Johnson has announced a further £1bn in funding for local government as the country heads into the second wave of COVID-19.
Announcing his three-tier system of local lockdowns, Mr Johnson told the nation: ‘We are giving local authorities across England around a billion pounds so they can protect vital services as they fight the virus.'
Under the rules, medium risk areas will stay at the current level of restrictions, while high risk areas will also include a ban on indoor social mixing between households.
In very high risk areas, where the NHS is under pressure, restrictions ‘will be worked out with local leaders, along with tailored packages of support’, Mr Johnson said.
‘But at a minimum they will, sadly, include a ban on all social mixing between households in private places, including gardens and pubs and bars must close unless they can operate solely as a restaurant, serving alcohol only as part of a main meal.
‘We will also ask people not to travel into and out of Very High alert level areas.’
The Prime Minister also pledged extra test and trace funding for very high risk areas.
From Wednesday, Liverpool City Region will be categorised as very high alert, with gyms, leisure centres, betting shops and casinos all closing.
‘We are still working with other local leaders to determine how best to tackle the resurgence of the virus in their areas. But tackle it we will,’ he said.
Local Government Association chairman, Cllr James Jamieson, said the association was ‘pleased government will provide much-needed additional funding’ but added: ‘We await further details around this funding.’
Sheffield City Region mayor Dan Jarvis claimed it was ‘reckless’ to introduce restrictions without financial support for people unable to work. ‘Otherwise regional leaders are trying to protect lives, jobs and businesses on the cheap,’ he said.