Lancashire leaders say they have been blackmailed and intimidated to impose strict restrictions on the coronavirus on the population.
The district will move to level 3 lockdown at midnight tonight Cities like Blackpool, Preston and Blackburn joined Liverpool City in the “very high” category.
An agreement was reportedly reached with Downing Street last night despite fierce opposition.
South Ripple, Preston and Bendle Council leaders resisted a Tier 2 Lancashire move but claimed to have warned that their townships would be “island” and “isolated” if they refused to cooperate. But Number 10 insisted it worked “in consultation” with the councils.
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Preston City Council mayor Matthew Brown told how he fought “to the bitter end” for adequate government support including a more generous job support scheme.
Ultimately, however, he said, “He was left with no choice.” Tell Lanx Live: ‘They bullied us in a situation where we got a bad deal and it could have been a lot poorer if we stayed out of it.
“I was told that we would be an island where people cannot travel outside the city.”
South Ripple House Leader Paul Foster also criticized the government’s lack of support, claiming that the Treasury could “easily afford”.
They basically said they would put residents in harsher measures in those areas that did not agree to a deal.
“So when we said we couldn’t agree to something that was not in the interest of our society, they basically said, ‘Well, you will, or we will do such-and-such.’
Meanwhile, Bendel’s leader, Counselor Mohamed Iqbal, repeated the bullying allegations and insisted that the deal would not work.
“The Lancashire leaders have been intimidated by 10 Downing Street into accepting a deal that all parties know is not sufficient to stop the virus,” he said.
The decision, announced this morning, will prevent residents from communicating with other families and force the closure of hundreds of bars and pubs that do not serve food.
Leaders fear that this will crush the region’s already fragile economy and could leave people destitute
When asked about the bullying allegations, the prime minister’s spokesperson said, “ He (Boris Johnson) is very grateful that the council leaders in Lancashire have worked in consultation with and joined the government.
We want to continue working with local authorities in other areas where we have major concerns in order to seek to put in place more measures to control the virus.
The spokesperson insisted that the government’s approach throughout was to “work constructively with local authorities” to ensure people receive the “appropriate level of support”.
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