The government’s decision on regional tiers today will make it even more difficult for it to meet its ambitions on the ‘levelling up’ agenda.

That is the view of Frank McKenna the chief executive of business lobby group Downtown in Business.

Mr McKenna said:

“Although Liverpool is understandably heaving a huge sigh of relief as it moves from lockdown to Tier-2, in respect of the longer term implications for the city and the Northern Powerhouse, the placing of Manchester, Lancashire and Leeds in Tier-3 is a significant setback.

“The reason the North has come together and collaborated over the past decade is in part a recognition that there is an interdependency between the regional hubs that drive the northern economy.

“The impact of what amounts to continued lockdown for the majority of major economic centres across the Northern Powerhouse will inevitably depress any ambitions we have for this part of the world to be a net contributor to the economic recovery UK Plc needs to see post-pandemic.”

Mr McKenna concluded:

“Certainly, the £4billion ‘levelling up’ fund unveiled by the Chancellor in his statement on Wednesday will be seen as a sticking plaster rather than the bloody big bandage that is required to heal the wounds inflicted to businesses in the north through the past seven months.”