The leader of Hull City Council has written a personal letter to Prime Minster Boris Johnson, calling on him to take action to support the city as it faces a health emergency, with the Coronavirus infection rate one of the highest in the country.
The rate in the city is continuing to rise. Currently it is 770 per 100,000 of the population, with 188 confirmed COVID-positive patients in hospital and a further 38 suspected, and Hull’s public health officials are warning the peak is yet to come. The total number of people who have tragically died of the virus in Hull throughout the pandemic is 252.
In his letter, Cllr Brady has made a series of requests for additional support and resources, highlighting that the city’s leaders have had no contact from central government. He asks the Prime Minister to urgently:
- grant greater freedom and flexibility to put specific and meaningful restrictions in place locally – particularly with regard to flexibility on schools
- provide additional support from Public Health England (PHE) and the Joint Biosecurity Centre to bolster extremely stretched local Public Health teams
- enter immediate discussions with the council and its partners about what will happen in Hull when the planned period of national restrictions ends on December 2
- revisit the decision on discretionary support for businesses and work with the council to discuss the financial support needs of local businesses
- provide additional resource and support for the area’s hospitals, to alleviate the critical pressure they are facing.
Cllr Brady said: “This is not about political point scoring, it is about fighting for our local people. We need government support, as other areas have received, to get through this pandemic and it is vital we make it absolutely clear to them what is needed.
“Government has directly supported other areas which have had particularly high rates and – before the national lockdown – entered tier three restrictions. We are not asking for special treatment. We are asking for the absolute minimum we need to get through this pandemic.
“We will not stand by and let Hull be forgotten. Yes, we are a resilient city and we’ve never been short on fighting spirit but that is not enough. Spirit and resilience will not beat this virus – they won’t keep our NHS services open, our businesses alive and food in people’s mouths.
“I am hopeful that the Prime Minister will take this letter seriously and will urgently speak to us about what the Government will do. There is absolutely no justification not to do so, this is a critical moment for our city.”
The council has also written to local businesses and every household in the city, outlining how the authority is stepping up virus control measures, highlighting support available and explaining what everyone must do to support efforts to suppress spread.
Steps taken by the council include:
- more Covid-19 Marshalls on the streets, working with Trading Standards teams and Humberside Police to remind people of the restriction requirements and taking action where necessary
- Business Support teams have been extended, to assist businesses which have had to close, or are badly affected by the current restrictions. Help available includes financial grants, advice and direction to other sources of support
- the local 300 307 ‘Hull Helpline’ continues to operate, working with the voluntary sector to help the most vulnerable residents in the city
- a letter will also be sent to every home in the city imploring residents to follow the current restrictions as closely as possible, including leaving home only when necessary and isolating immediately if they have symptoms.