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Andy Burnham calls for review of 10pm curfew that’s ‘doing more harm’ after chaotic scenes over the weekend

The mayor says it’s ‘doing more harm than good’. 

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photojournoadam/Twitter

Andy Burnham has called for a review of the 10pm curfew as it is ‘doing more harm than good’. 

The Greater Manchester Mayor has warned that the new rule put in place across the nation is doing ‘more harm than good’ as people spilled into the streets and supermarkets following the closure of the pub.

This weekend in Manchester city centre, people were spotted gathering on streets and in supermarkets rather than going home after the 10pm curfew.

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme, Burnham said: “I received reports (in Manchester city centre) that supermarkets were absolutely packed out to the rafters and lots of people gathering after 10pm.

“There needs to be an urgent review of the emerging evidence from police forces.

“My gut feeling is that this curfew is doing more harm than good. It is potentially contradictory. It creates an incentive for people to gather in the streets or more probably, to gather in the home. That is the opposite of what our local restrictions here are trying to do.”

Mr Burnham added that his ‘gut feeling’ is the 10pm curfew should be lifted. He then added that a 9pm cut off for alcohol sales in supermarket could be imposed.

He added: “I’m not here to score points, I’m looking for solutions here. I can understand what the government is trying to do.

“Let me give some suggestions. Perhaps there could be a 9pm curfew on the sale of alcohol in supermarkets and shops that would prevent the rush to shops once pubs have closed. That’s what we certainly saw on Saturday.

“The government has said the 10pm curfew is based on Belgium, but they also have police to disperse people on the streets.

“My personal feeling is that the curfew is probably doing more harm than good as it’s creating a major incentive for people to carry on drinking and partying at home. And that is where we are told the virus spreads – gatherings in the home.”

He said: “If it is doing more harm and damaging businesses, then the government shouldn’t just plough on with it. It certainly requires urgent attention.”

Contrastingly, health minister Helen Whatley has praised the 10pm curfew. Speaking on the BBC 1 Breakfast programme she said: “As people drink more they tend to socially distance less.

“So one approach to keeping people socially distancing is to limit the amount of time that people are in places where they are drinking and then this breaking down of compliance with the rules.

“We have also seen in some of the places where there have been higher rates over the summer that sometimes bars have been the places where there has been an outbreak so this is a reason why one of the actions we have taken is to have people stopping being out drinking at an earlier time.”

Despite this, latest reports from The Times show that Parliament’s bar has not been made subject to the 10pm curfew as it falls under the description of ‘workplace canteen’.

There are 19 restaurants and cafeterias, nine bars and a coffee bar that cater for MPs within the Houses of Parliament. Furthermore, customers and staff are not required to follow the new face-covering rules.

Around the country, there have been reports of crowds flocking to streets after the curfew.

One person wrote: “This breaks my heart. Pls boris close the pubs again, full lockdown needed. They can’t be trusted”

Another wrote: “Scenes from my old home city of Liverpool last night. Whatever the merits of the 10pm curfew, if such behaviour continues we are heading for a complete shutdown of the night time economy and worse. The choices of individuals as well as governments have consequences.”

A third pointed out that at 10:15 the Uber surge charge in Manchester was three times, trams were ‘full of people sitting wherever they could’ and taxi ranks became ‘crowds of people arguing over who got their first’. Adding: “How exactly, does this help stop the spread of the virus? Spoiler alert….it doesn’t.”

Shadow justice secretary David Lammy has questioned the ‘science’ behind the new curfew explaining that it is ‘not clear where that came from’.

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has confirmed that there is ‘definitely science behind it’. Speaking on BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show, Dowden said ‘that’s why we’re requiring people to be seated in pubs and restaurants, so that stops the flow of them to and from the bar’.

Brewer and pub chain Greene King told the BBC: “Without the usual slow ‘wind-down’ time that pubs would see with a gradual closure, customers were all leaving at once which presented more of a challenge for the pub teams managing people’s safety on exiting the premises.”

The chain urged for additional help from the government for the hospitality industry: “The measures have not been well thought through and the combined impact of [the curfew], the challenges of table service-only and the fact that the government are unfairly targeting the hospitality sector has had a cumulative negative impact.”

Wetherspoons boss, Tim Martin, said: “The main problem with the 22:00 curfew is that it’s another random and arbitrary move by the government, which lacks logic or scientific credibility.”

 

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Marcus Rashford calls for guarantee free school meals will continue over summer holidays

Well done Marcus!

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Кирилл Венедиктов / Wikimedia

Marcus Rashford is calling for a guarantee that the free school meal scheme will continue over the upcoming summer holidays.

The Manchester United star forced the government to U-turn on the issue last year, and is once again calling on ministers to keep the support going over the holidays.

Rashford relied on free school meals when he was growing up, saying that if his family had received help in the summer it would have made a ‘massive, massive difference’.

Marcus Rashford / Twitter

During the lockdown school closures last year vouchers were offered, but the government had resisted calls to continue the coupons – worth £15 a week – over the summer until Rashford got involved and piled pressure on ministers.

The striker didn’t stop there, also shaming the government into supporting families in need over the holidays in November via a Covid winter grant scheme.

As it stands, since the first lockdown more than 300,000 additional children have become eligible for free school dinners, with the total number of people able to access the scheme rising to 1.63 million in October.

No10 / Flickr

Rashford told The Mirror: “I definitely think it needs to be extended and the reason why I say that is, I’m just going back to what it was like for me in the summers.

“It’s much more difficult for my mum to keep on top of. Obviously in my household there were four children so as a single parent it was obviously tough for her.

“But when we were all in school or in high school, she can rest a little bit because she knows that we’re having a meal there, and then potentially she only has to worry about one meal, which is dinner time.”

Fairholme Primary School

He continued: “So having free school meals throughout summer holidays for me would have made a massive, massive difference.

“And I feel like what’s happened this year, like the pandemic, it’s affected everyone in different ways.

“I just don’t see there being anything wrong with extending free school meals, like it’s going to do a lot more good than bad so I definitely think that that should happen.”

The footballer isn’t the only one calling for the scheme to continue, with Children’s Commissioner Rachel de Souza also asking for free school meals to be extended into the summer holidays.

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Student suffers severe heart failure after drinking four cans of energy drink a day

‘I believe they are very addictive and far too accessible to young children’

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AlienFood/Wikimedia & Austin Kirk/Flickr

A young man who consumed two litres of energy drink a day was admitted to intensive care with severe heart failure.

According to a leading medical journal, the university student landed himself in hospital after drinking four cans of energy drink per day.

The 21-year-old spent nearly two months in intensive care due to heart failure, with the British Medical Journal stating this was ‘potentially related to excessive energy drink consumption’ in a report.

According to the report, the man drank four 500ml energy drinks every day for two years, becoming so ill that medics thought he might require an organ transplant.

The patient went on to describe his medical episode as ‘traumatising’, eventually seeking medical help after he suffered from weight loss and shortness of breath for roughly four months.

Daniel Juřena / Flickr

Doctors performed blood tests, scans, and ECG readings, and found that he had both kidney and heart failure – however, the kidney failure was discovered to be linked to a previously undiagnosed condition.

Each energy drink the man was consuming contained around 160mg of caffeine, and medics said that ‘energy drink-induced cardiotoxicity’ was the most likely cause of the severe heart failure.

In the report, the authors from Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust wrote: “We report a case of severe biventricular heart failure potentially related to excessive energy drink consumption in a 21-year-old man.”

They said the conclusion to their report ‘adds to the growing concern in the literature about the potential cardiotoxic effects of energy drinks’, adding that the man’s heart function seems to have returned to normal nine months later but with ‘mildly impaired function’.

AlienFood / Wikimedia

The recovered patient added his own thoughts to the article, saying: “When I was drinking up to four energy drinks per day, I suffered from tremors and heart palpitations, which interfered with my ability to concentrate on daily tasks and my studies at university.

“I also suffered from severe migraine headaches which would often occur during the periods when I did not drink energy drink; this also restricted my ability to perform day-to-day tasks and even leisurely activities such as going to the park or taking a walk.”

He added: “I think there should be more awareness about energy drinks and the effect of their contents.

“I believe they are very addictive and far too accessible to young children. I think warning labels, similar to smoking, should be made to illustrate the potential dangers of the ingredients in energy drink.”

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Drivers could soon be fined for parking on the pavement under new rules

Make sure you’re aware of the proposed rule changes

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Jaggery / Geograph

A ban on parking on the pavement could soon be implemented across England, under new laws which are expected to be rolled out this year.

Parking on pavements would be a thing of the past, with £70 penalty fines for offenders coming into effect under the proposed new rules.

According to reports, the new legislation would see a ban on antisocial parking introduced, in a bid to make pavements safer for people with disabilities and visual impairments, as well as families.

The changes to the law which are being considered have already been implemented in London and would be rolled out nationwide.



They come in response to complaints about pavement parking and the risks it brings with it to those whose use pavements, with the Department for Transport (DfT) initially launching a proposal on the subject in September 2020.

The proposals came after a review discovered that almost half of wheelchair users and a third of visually impaired people were less willing to go out on the streets alone due to ‘antisocial’ parking on the pavement.

A spokeswoman from the DfT explained to The Mirror that the government is currently collating responses after receiving ‘overwhelming’ feedback.

The public consultation period for the proposals ended back on November 22nd, and as such a decision on the plan is expected imminently.

Jaggery / Geograph

However, Mark Tongue, director of Select Car Leasing has said that ‘the guidelines are currently quite confusing for motorists’.

The motoring company conducted a report which discovered that local authorities would have the power to dish out £70 fines if a vehicle was considered an obstruction, even if it was parked outside the driver’s house.

Mr Tongue said: “A pavement parking ban is 100% needed nationwide – anything that puts pedestrians at an increased risk requires action.

“However, the information given so far is slightly confusing for drivers. At the moment, there’s no clear guidelines for those who park on the pavement due to having no room on their own drive. Most households have more than one car, so it will be interesting to see where motorists are expected to park if not on the pavement outside their homes.

“Clear guidance is required for drivers so they know the correct location to park in order to avoid a fine.”

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