BRADFORD Council leader Susan Hinchcliffe has accused the Government of "seriously underestimating" the economic impact of tightened Covid-19 restrictions.

West Yorkshire will move into Tier 3 on Monday, it was announced earlier this evening after days of speculation. 

Cllr Hinchcliffe said: “Let’s be clear, further economic restrictions on Bradford and West Yorkshire are going to be damaging for businesses and jobs. 

"There is a 'template' of funding available from Government to support these businesses but I do not think it will be enough. Neither were Government in the mood to give us more. Government are seriously underestimating the economic impact of these measures and we in West Yorkshire will challenge them to improve upon them.

“No one can deny that the infection rates are now very high indeed so action needs to be taken. The Government has a tiered approach to how to manage the infection and for areas with high infections this is the next step in their programme. They have told us they are not contemplating a national lockdown as we saw at the start of the pandemic. So this is the only intervention on offer.

“I have concerns about the low paid who can ill afford to self-isolate, the £500 grant, just introduced, has many criteria to qualify and it has taken months for Government to act on this. We first raised it in July but it wasn’t introduced until this month. People will lose their jobs, youth unemployment has doubled."

She added: “As a Council we are committed to helping people get back on their feet but the Government package of financial support to businesses limits the district’s ability to sustain jobs at the same scale they were.

“I issue a heartfelt plea to everyone to stay apart, wear a face covering indoors and wash your hands. If you get COVID please self-isolate for the whole 10 days. Too few people nationally do. 

“The sooner we can reduce infection rates the sooner we will be able to reduce the level of restrictions. So please remember to wash hands, wear a mask, keep your distance and self-isolate if you have the virus or have symptoms.”