IT appears that a small group of cabinet ministers decided last week to place Birmingham in Tier 3.
Without further support, that amounts to another nail in the coffin for our hospitality sector.
I’m not sure I follow the reasoning that sees Birmingham in Tier 3 and London in Tier 2. If we judge it on health and infection rates, it’s true that the figures for our city are far too high.
They’re equally high in Newham, Redbridge and Ealing and the R Rate for London and the Midlands is almost identical.
If we consider the size of London’s population and the volume of daily people movements, it’s hard to see how ministers arrived at a decision that places us in Tier 3 and London in Tier 2.
Could it be that someone around that cabinet table spoke up for the London economy but no one made the case for Birmingham?
Apparently, placing London in Tier 2 puts 50,000 jobs at risk and that rises to 550,000 jobs under Tier 3.
I’m very interested to see the equivalent figures for Birmingham. Does anyone in Downing Street realise that our hospitality sector, especially our pubs, restaurants and clubs are on their knees?
This decision will cost Birmingham businesses about £2.4 million per week. The meagre support that is available amounts to about 15 per cent of what’s required for them to stay afloat. Our hospitality sector could well be wiped out by March 2021.
I have no desire to underestimate this virus, a combination of its lethal potential and Government incompetence has led to about 70,000 deaths in this country. However, if the Government is weighing health and economic data, surely it should be the same for all of us.
The hospitality sector is the fifth largest employer in this country. Many Birmingham businesses are already crippled by paying huge rents to London-based landlords with no respite during the pandemic. They need urgent help. It’s not right to consider the economic situation for London and ignore us.
If this Government stands by while our hospitality sector is destroyed, they won’t be forgiven.
Steve McCabe MP writes a weekly column for Birmingham Mail