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Liverpool City Region Covid19 Updates
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This page last updated on 28 April 2021
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MPs and Environment Groups Condemn:- "Insidious Cover Up Culture" at Highways England

ON Wednesday, 28 April 2021, Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central has called for an investigation after claims that internal emails from Highways England have reveal the Government agency attempted to cover up minutes of stakeholder meetings and subvert the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2000. If true, the emails, which relate to the controversial A5036 Port of Liverpool access scheme that would demolish the 3.5km Rimrose Valley Country Park, in Merseyside, showed senior Highways England officials describe how the agency can:- "bypass the FOI process."

Within an it is reported to us that Highways England officials describe their wishes for:- "closing down the FOI/EIR route for [Rimrose Valley Friends] in future," they outline how they do not want to supply the information to Mr Esterson, because of the:- "damaging effect that releasing the records is likely to have on our relationships" with the private companies partnered on the Rimrose Valley scheme. We have asked for copies of the emails if possible to be sent to us, to confirm this.

Additionally, the claims state that the emails describe how colleagues at Highways England deployed the same tactics in "Chichester," referring to the controversial A27 Chichester Bypass scheme. This suggests a cultural problem of transparency and obfuscation.

The emails were revealed after local Member of Parliament, Bill Esterson, submitted an FOI asking for the minutes of meetings with private companies who are partnered with the Port of Liverpool access scheme, which lies in the parliamentary constituencies of Sefton Central and Bootle.

This FOI was rejected, and despite only 1 FOI request being submitted the agency branded Mr Esterson and Peter Dowd, the MP for Bootle, in a letter as:- "vexatious," and making a:- "manifestly unreasonable" request; despite admitting that they:- "do hold information that is relevant to [the] request."

Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, said:- "The A5036 Port of Liverpool Access scheme is a breathtakingly destructive project that would tear a rift through a really important Merseyside country park. These emails show an outrageous attempt by Highways England to cover up a legitimate request for information through the Freedom of Information Act 2000. In merely carrying out our duty as a Member of Parliament, representing our constituents, we were met with obstacles to transparency at every turn. It speaks to an insidious cover up culture at Highways England, which must be investigated."

Peter Dowd, MP for Bootle, added:- "The current plans to bulldoze a road through Rimrose Valley will inevitably cause long term damage to our environment. It is a reckless proposal without thought for other reasonable alternatives. The results from the freedom of information request leave a lot to be desired. Highways England say they aim to:- ‘ensure their activities result in a long term and sustainable benefit to the environment.' Rather than actively trying to obstruct Bill Esterson MP and me in representing our constituents, they should act on their own aims by bringing a halt to this proposal which, amongst other things, will strip out the only significant green space in my constituency."

Stuart Bennett, Save Rimrose Valley Campaign Coordinator, responded:- "The emails revealed today show the contempt Highways England has for our community, as well as the lengths it will go to cover up what is really going on. They also reveal that Highways England clearly cares more about its relations with privately owned stakeholders than those with the public. For Highways England to label our campaign as 'malign' is not only an insult; it is laughable from an organisation which has withheld information, misled the public and adopted an obstructive attitude towards anyone who opposes the destruction of one of our few remaining green spaces. The Port of Liverpool access scheme would invite thousands more highly polluting HGVs and other vehicles into Merseyside and wreak untold damage on its countryside and wildlife. It must be stopped."

Crispin Truman OBE, Chief Executive of CPRE The Countryside Charity, commented that:- "Rimrose Valley is a green lung for many in Liverpool and a vital tool in the fight against the climate crisis. We are campaigning to protect it despite the hurdles and stumbling blocks put in our way by Highways England."

Craig Bennett, Chief Executive of The Wildlife Trusts, also replied saying:- "Over the last year of lockdown, millions of people have come to appreciate the importance of green space close to where they live; more than ever before. The scientific evidence is crystal clear that access to nature is critical for our physical and mental wellbeing, that air pollution places huge pressures and costs on our NHS, and that we’re now running out of time for taking action on climate change. In this context, it seems extraordinary that a huge dual carriageway right along the length of the beautiful Rimrose Valley could even be considered. The proposals are an appalling a front on local communities, on nature, and any sort of suggestion that our society might try to ‘build back better’ after the pandemic crisis."

Rebecca Lush, Transport Action Network, pointed out that it is:- "Highways England's responses expose their disrespect for local communities, the environment and even Parliamentarians. Highways England must act with transparency and accountability, and not show contempt towards local people and elected MPs."

Vic Ient, Vice-Chair of South Coast Alliance for Transport and the Environment (SCATE), who have been campaigning against the A27 Chichester Bypass scheme, remarked:- "It’s sad to hear that Highways England has yet again been doing its utmost to systematically deny citizens their legal rights to public sector transparency. This is another example of Highways England pushing forward its irresponsible and environmentally damaging programme of road building with no regard for local communities or the global environment. As SCATE has seen with the proposes A27 expansions in Chichester, Highways England selectively consults pro-road stakeholders to bolster its case, whilst shutting local communities out of the process."

Claire Mercer, Founder of the Smart Motorways Kill campaign, explains:- "Highways England is a government agency, which means it has a responsibility to work for the public good; in reality they treat the public like competition. The campaign I set up after the death of my husband had also been unfortunate enough to experience the games and tactics Highways England play to avoid publishing data that doesn’t fit their narrative. Whether it’s Smart Motorways or the environment, Highways England refuse to publish anything that shows the true impact on people and communities."

Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust becomes sole provider of Southport and Formby community services

MERSEY Care NHS Foundation Trust has been named as the new provider of community health services in Southport and Formby. Following a rigorous procurement process NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was awarded the contract to Mersey Care, who were already providing community services in Liverpool and South Sefton. From 1 May 2021, Mersey Care will take over services including:- blood testing, district nursing, falls prevention, diabetes care, therapies and rehabilitation and pain management for the whole of Sefton, which will provide continuity of care and a smooth transition of services for patients and community staff. They take over from Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust, who chose not to continue providing community services.

Joe Rafferty CBE, Mersey Care’s Chief Executive, said:- "We’re committed to providing the best care as close to home as possible for all our population. This will join up community and mental health services across the Metropolitan Borough of Sefton which will allow for more integration of services, including with primary care, and so allow better results and value for the overall population. It’s important that patients understand there will no change in their services, just a change in who manages them, and we want to work with them by asking their views so we can improve how they access those services."

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said:- "Community services are often the most commonly used healthcare that our residents will come into contact with after their GP. It’s really important we continue to have such strong leadership and management of these services in the future. We are very much looking forward to working with Mersey Care, who also deliver these services at our counterpart CCG in South Sefton. We would like to take this opportunity to thank Lancashire and South Cumbria NHS Foundation Trust and importantly its staff for their continued hard work over the past 4 years and especially over the last year which has been a challenging one for all of us. This is about a change in who manages these services, not about direct care, so patients should not notice any difference to the community services they use, or to the staff who provide them when this change happens."

Letter to Editor:- "Local elections campaign to support children"

"FOR the thousands of children living in the Liverpool City Region the Covid19 crisis has been a period of extreme change and has affected how many young people feel about their lives. So as we emerge from this time of unrest how are we going to help these young people recover? Official figures reveal that out of the 317,000 children living in the Liverpool City Region, 90,800 live in poverty (32% of all children in the region), 54,100 households with children receive Universal Credit and there are an estimated 42,000 children aged 5-16 with a mental health condition. The Children’s Society’s annual Good Childhood Report has found a significant fall in children’s happiness with their lives overall in the past decade. On top of this, the Covid crisis has put even more pressure on young people as they have missed out on months of learning and seeing their friends. Many families have seen their incomes fall, and the most vulnerable children have been out of sight of professionals and the services designed to keep them safe. The Children’s Society’s new campaign #Jointhefightback, is calling for candidates standing for election and those elected in the Liverpool City Region on Thursday, 6 May 2021, to prioritise the well being of children and young people as we emerge from the Covid19 Pandemic. Young people might not be able to vote in these elections, but they deserve to have politicians representing them who are committed to making decisions that help them live a happy, safe and fulfilling life. To find out more and sign up to pledge support go to:- ChildrensSociety.Org.UK." Yours Sincerely, Mark Russell, Chief Executive, The Children’s Society.

LGA responds to High Court Judgement on holding online and hybrid Council meetings

DURING the Coronavirus emergency, Councils have had to find other ways of working in order to meet social distancing guidelines and to keep members, staff and the public safe. 1 of the methods they were able to use was holding their public meetings remotely. In order to understand how Councils made use of these powers and their views as to how such powers might be used in the future, the Local Government Association conducted a:- 'temperature check' of Councils in England. The findings of the research were also intended to contribute to an MHCLG call for evidence on the matter.

On 29 March 2021, the Local Government Association sent an online survey to monitoring officers in all English Councils. Monitoring officers were asked to coordinate a single response for their Council. The survey was in the field for 2 weeks, until 9 April 2021. A total of 243 responses were received giving a response rate of 74%.

of 243 English Councils revealed that 835 said they would be very likely or fairly likely to conduct meetings online or as a hybrid meeting once the Coronavirus emergency was over if they had the power. 79% said they would be very likely or fairly likely to hold hybrid meetings, where members can choose to attend in person or remotely.

Responding to the judgement in the High Court application made by Hertfordshire County Council, Lawyers in Local Government and the Association of Democratic Services Officers, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, for a declaration that Councils can continue to hold online and hybrid meetings beyond 7 May 2021, Cllr James Jamieson, Chairman of the Local Government Association said:- "It is very disappointing that this last avenue to allow councils to hold online and hybrid meetings whilst Covid19 restrictions are still in force has not been successful. Councils by law, have to hold annual meetings within 21 days following local elections, so many will now have to use very large external venues to allow all members of the council to meet in person. Councils want to continue to have powers to hold online and hybrid meetings even when restrictions have been lifted. A recent LGA survey of its members revealed that 83% of Councils said they would be very likely or fairly likely to conduct meetings both online and in a hybrid way once the Coronavirus emergency was over if they had the power. The current flexibility has been paramount in allowing access for both Councillors and the public into Council meetings. Many Councils have, in fact, seen significantly increased participation by the public in meetings where important decisions are made about planning, housing and the provision of local services. Councils want the flexibility to continue to meet in this way and continue their business, especially in times of emergency such as when flooding occurs or if there is significant traffic disruption due to weather conditions. The Government gave clear evidence at the hearing in support of allowing the option of online and hybrid meetings. Unfortunately, the judgement is clear that primary legislation is needed to allow Councils to use technology to hold meetings."

Total UK cases Covid19 cases in and around Liverpool City Region

THE total number of UK Coronavirus (Covid19) infections that have been laboratory confirmed, within the UK, has risen by:- 2,166 cases and the total number now stand at:- 4,411,797 that includes tests carried out by commercial partners which are not included in the 4 National totals.

The total number of Covid19 associated UK fatalities added to the total, was sadly reported to be:-
29 within 28 days of positive test, according to the Department of Health. The total number of deaths of people who have had a positive test result confirmed by a Public Health or NHS laboratory is:- 127,480, within 28 days of positive test. Deaths with Covid19 on the death certificate:- 151,243.

The number of Covid19 patients currently in UK Hospitals:-
1,634. The current number of Covid19 patients currently in mechanical ventilation beds in UK Hospitals:- 227 Daily number of Covid19 patients admitted to UK Hospitals:- 124.

In England, there are a total of:- 3,854,733 confirmed cases. North West - total of:- 606,376 confirmed cases.

The number of laboratory confirmed cases within the Liverpool City Region are as follows:-


Area and number of confirmed cases:- Risen by:-

Liverpool City Region
Nation Lockdown

National UK Restrictions

Liverpool, 48,469 confirmed cases.


Halton, 11,949 confirmed cases. 3
Knowsley, 17,373 confirmed cases. 0
Sefton, 23,923 confirmed cases. 6
St. Helens, 17,062 confirmed cases. 4

Wirral, 24,283 confirmed cases.

Colour Key:- 0  1 to 10 11 to 20 21 to 30  31 to 40 41 to 50 51 to 100 100 to 199 200 & over  

Daily reported Covid19 deaths are now measured across the UK as deaths that occurred within 28 days of the 1st laboratory confirmed positive Covid19 test.  Daily and cumulative numbers of Covid19 patients admitted to Hospital. Data are not updated every day by all 4 nations and the figures are not comparable as Wales include suspected Covid19 patients while the other nations include only confirmed cases.


Total UK people who have received Vaccination

1st Dose 2nd Dose
33,959,908 13,581,076
Jab Stats correct as of:- 27 April 2021
The Vaccination programme began on 8 December 2020 with people receiving the Vaccine developed by Pfizer / BioNTech, and people began receiving the Oxford University / AstraZeneca Vaccine from 4 January 2021. Both Vaccine s are given as 2 doses, at lEast 21 days apart, for a full Vaccination course.

Previous 24hr Data

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