Steve Rotheram and Andy Burnham coronavirus press conference

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is set to give a press conference this afternoon with his Greater Manchester counterpart Andy Burnham as they lay out a potential path for the North to recover from the coronavirus crisis.

The metro mayors, two of the most powerful politicians in the North, will give an update on the coronavirus outbreak and what support will be needed to ensure the North's battered economy is supported.

More than 16,000 people are confirmed to have died from coronavirus and the lockdown has paralysed much of the economy.

Similarly to the rest of the country, businesses and families in Merseyside and Greater Manchester are being hit hard by the crisis and local authorities in both areas are facing soaring costs in trying to deal with the outbreak.

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Follow this blog as we cover the joint press conference remotely from 1pm.

Nick Tyrrell

'If we don't plan for recovery, we'll have no economy to call on'

The press conference is closing now, with Steve Rotheram repeating the point both he and Mr Rotheram made earlier about post-crisis planning.

He says it's important systems are set up now so that the economy is robust enough to respond to the crisis.

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He says government "have failed on so many occasions to grasp the nettle" of what's important to invest in and says huge effort is needed now to plan for the future.

Nick Tyrrell

'I don't want to return to what we had before'

Mr Rotheram echoes Mr Burnham's previous point, saying the UK's economic model is broken and the crisis presents the nation with an opportunity to change course.

He says innovative ways to interact and manufacture goods present an opportunity to grow sustainably.

Nick Tyrrell

'Some changes people want to keep'

Mr Burnham says there are consequences of lockdown that people do seem to like, with better air quality being chief among them.

He says it's important the economy is reshaped in the aftermath of the crisis to ensure people can work flexibly and to help make sure pollution levels don't bounce back up.

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Atletico Madrid match 'a mistake'

Steve Rotheram says it's clear Liverpool's match against Atletico Madrid at Anfield, which saw thousands travel from virus-hit Spain, should not have gone ahead.

He says throughout the crisis the government has appeared to "pick and choose whether it takes advice from the WHO".

He says WHO guidance at the time was clear that large events like matches should not have taken place.

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Region by region release from lockdown 'worst of all worlds'

Both Mr Burnham and Mr Rotheram have been adamant a region by region release from lockdown would be 'chaotic' and disadvantage certain regions.

Mr Burnham says he would favour a sector by sector release.

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Merseyrail 'keeping its head above water' at the moment

Responding to questions about whether Merseyrail is in a similar situation to the Metrolink, Mr Rotheram says the system is "keeping its head above water" currently because it operates differently to Metrolink but a finance deal is vital.

Passenger numbers are 83% down on normal levels.

He says government has been "slow" in responding to the issue of how inner city transport systems are run and they need to react now.

Nick Tyrrell

The whole Metrolink system could be mothballed

Responding to a question about whether mothballing the Metrolink would mean key stops could still be served, Andy Burnham says that without a deal the whole system could be stopped.

He says his team has been looking at it for weeks but they "still do not have an answer for Metrolink".

Nick Tyrrell

"Greater spending needed on skills gaps'

Mr Rotheram says the economy that will exist after the crisis will demand completely different skills and says it's vital people are supported so they can learn the skills needed to thrive.

He says government should use combined authorities to help shape this, saying their intimate knowledge of their regions is key to shaping the policy successfully.

Nick Tyrrell

Recovery panels being set up in city regions

Liverpool City Region Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram is speaking now.

He echoes Mr Burnham's plea that "it can't be business as usual" and says coronavirus poses the greatest risk to the most vulnerable in our regions.

He says recovery panels are already being set up in city regions to address the unique challenges each area will face in recovering from the coronavirus crisis.

Nick Tyrrell

Calls for more devolved powers across a wide range of areas

Mr Burnham says there is an opportunity for the UK to take aspects of the lockdown, such as cleaner air from lower pollution levels, and use them as an opportunity to grow in a more sustainable and cleaner way.

Internet provision, transport and air quality are just some of the policy areas he wants to see handled more at a regional level.

Nick Tyrrell

Calls for a 'national recovery council'

Mr Burnham says it's important all regions are included in the recovery plans and calls for a national recovery council to shape the UK's long term response to the coronavirus crisis.

Nick Tyrrell

The Metrolink could be mothballed

Mr Burnham says a decision will soon have to be taken on whether to mothball Manchester's Metrolink tram system unless a finance deal is reached.

He says financial losses because of a drop in ridership is unsustainable and calls on the government to strike a deal with regions with urban transport systems.

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Call for regions to be represented on COBR

Mr Burnham says it's right that the nations of the UK are included in COBR discussions but calls for the English regions to be given a seat as well

He says: "Perhaps it doesn't need to be every mayor, possibly just one, it could be me or it could be Steve or Andy Street from the West Midlands or the other combined authorities."

Nick Tyrrell

Andy Burnham: "This isn't a call for an early exit from lockdown"

Mr Burnham kicks things off today.

He says the first thing he wants to make clear is that he and Mr Rotheram are not calling for an early exit from lockdown or criticising the government's lockdown policy.

Mr Burnham also says recovery from the crisis "can't be a return to business as usual" and calls on government to give devolved authorities "a seat at the table" in recovery talks early on.

Nick Tyrrell

Businesses across the region feel the pressure from coronavirus

The press conference comes as businesses across the North West continue to be buffeted by the consequences of the outbreak and the subsequent lockdown.

Jaguar Land Rover is just one of the latest businesses in our region to furlough thousands of its staff.

Nick Tyrrell

Press conference set to start shortly

Metro Mayors Andy Burnham and Steve Rotheram are set to begin the press conference at 1pm.

The two men will focus on recovery plans for the North after the coronavirus crisis.