Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull) Regulations 2020 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 3:20 pm on 7th October 2020.

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Photo of Lord Bhatia Lord Bhatia Non-affiliated 3:20 pm, 7th October 2020

My Lords, after seeing cases in the West Midlands continue to rise, the Government, in collaboration with local leaders, had to take the decision to ban households mixing in Birmingham, Sandwell and Solihull. It is difficult for any Government to take such drastic steps, but that is what any responsible Government have to do. Such regulations affect many businesses, particularly in the hospitality industry, where many restaurants and bars will suffer. The most affected are the employees, whose incomes are decimated. Their families suddenly become poor and some become homeless as they are unable to pay their rents. Local government has to find them temporary accommodation in hotels and private properties.

The domino effect of these new rules to save lives from Covid-19 will affect individuals, businesses and the finances of local government. There are no easy answers to this. Saving lives must take priority over economics. The only hope is finding a vaccine, which seems to be a few months away. In the meantime, the Chancellor has to provide extra funding for the unemployed, local authorities and small businesses. Can the Minister estimate what extra funding the Treasury will have to give to reduce the effect of these new rules?