Labour urge ministers to 'come clean' over financial hit to economy from lockdown

MINISTERS have been urged to “come clean” by Labour over the financial hit to the economy from lockdown measures.

Senior frontbencher Bridget Phillipson has written to the government demanding a detailed dossier looking at the Covid impact be published.

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A colour-coded government spreadsheet has focused on the damage to sectors from aviation to tourism.

The shadow Cabinet Minister wants analysis published on why the UK economy has been hit harder than other G7 nations.

Calls for the estimated cost of the four-week restrictions in England that started from November 5 also need to be made public, they say.

The Labour frontbencher also wants a regional breakdown on how closing some parts of the country has a knock-on effect in other areas.

Ministers have so far only published an analysis into the “health, economic and social effects” of COVID-19 and tiering given to MPs ahead of a crucial vote to impose the new tier structure.

Her demands came in a letter to her counterpart Stephen Barclay, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury.

Phillipson said: “This Government was too slow into the first lockdown and too slow into the second. It blocked Labour’s call for a circuit-breaker in October only to see us enter a longer, harder lockdown in November.

“The Chancellor knows how much that irresponsible decision cost the economy – the British people deserve to know too.

“No more secret dashboards. It’s time for the government to come clean about the full cost to the economy of its Covid policies .”

Meanwhile, West Midlands Mayor Andy Street says the government needs to do more for the “struggling” hospitality sector who need a final round of cash otherwise they will “go to the wall”.

He asks for the Chancellor Rishi Sunak to step in fearing all previous support will be “for nothing” if businesses fold before the nationwide vaccination programme is complete.

Mr Sunak told the Commons that relevant information "is all provided in the report for people to look at".

‘Chancellor must support our struggling hospitality sector’

WITH the battle against Covid-19 on the way to being won, and with help so clearly on the way in the form of mass vaccinations, we cannot afford to give up the fight.

And yet, this is what risks happening unless a final round of financial support is given to our struggling hospitality sector.  

Throughout this ordeal, our publicans, restaurateurs and small businesses have done their level best to follow the government’s orders.

They’ve shut when they’ve been told.

They’ve changed their seating plans and service practices.

In many cases, they’ve shelled out significant sums to upgrade their facilities to accommodate the government’s tiering system.

For businesses in Tier 3 the latest round of support simply won’t see them through.

These pubs, cafes and restaurants are the anchors of our communities.

Without one last round of support many of them will go to the wall.

And while the remnants of the goliaths like Arcadia and Debenham’s will surely find someone willing to buy their brands many of these smaller businesses will simply disappear forever.

We mustn’t let that happen.

I recognise the Chancellor has already delivered a tremendous amount of support to the hospitality sector but all of that support will be for nothing if  viable businesses are allowed to fold before the mass vaccination campaign against Covid is finished.

I ask the Treasury to hear their cries and give one last push to get our hospitality sector over the line.

By Andy Street, West Midlands Mayor

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