Leicester businesses sue government over lockdown 'mishandling'

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Image source, PA Media
Image caption,
A local lockdown was announced in Leicester on 29 June

Leicester businesses are taking legal action against the government, saying it "mishandled" the local lockdown.

The 10 firms say the city's reputation has been "tarnished" by the extended restrictions.

Solicitor Bushra Ali said they were angry about a lack of transparency, failure to provide information sooner and a lack of proper procedures.

She said the lockdown enforced by central government on 29 June was having a "devastating impact".

"We are challenging the actions and inactions that could have avoided the situation we have ended up in," she said.

'No comment'

"It's affected the entire reputation of the city and those errors and failings on part of the central government have had a devastating impact upon Leicester."

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it could not comment on ongoing legal proceedings.

Ms Ali said the action against Health Secretary Matt Hancock and Chancellor Rishi Sunak was not over compensation but about being "brandished as a city spreading infection".

Lockdown measures have since been eased on the outskirts of the city, while restrictions remain in Leicester, Oadby and Wigston until 1 August.

Image caption,
Businesses say they worry the local lockdown will have an impact on the economy

Bar owner Sally Davis said potential customers had a "negative response" when they realised she was within the lockdown zone.

"As the first area to go into a local lockdown, it's now about how we put a more positive slant on Leicester and be known for the vibrant business community that we have," she said.

Shaf Islam, who runs Chutney Ivy in the city centre, said future reservations had been cancelled because groups no longer wanted to visit.

"There's a stigma attached now. They don't want to come here," he said.

Last week the University of Leicester launched a social media campaign for people to share positive stories of the city using #togetherinhope.

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