Andy Burnham has slammed ministers for their handling of the new tier system, including sparing London from Tier 3.
Mr Burnham has claimed the government took into account the potential economic impact on the capital in sparing London from Tier 3, but did not do the same for Manchester and the rest of the country.
Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, has called for a review into how ministers announced what tiers to apply and expressed fury at the way London had been placed in Tier 2.
Speaking on Radio 4, Mr Burnham said: “The question I would ask this morning is why did they consider the economic impact on London in making the recent decisions about tiering but not about anywhere else in the country?”
Adding: “And why have they not put any economic impact data out in this assessment? That is clearly unfair. It gives the impression that jobs outside of London are not worth the same.
“And I think MPs are right to challenge the government on this point. We need to understand what these tiers will do to the economy outside of London and to keep MPs in the dark on that when they are being asked to vote today is quite frankly unacceptable.”
When asked if he accepted the Tier 3 ranking in Greater Manchester, he said: “I can’t dispute the evidence at the moment because we’re above the England average.
“What I do challenge is the way this is being done. The government are doing to the country in December what they did to Greater Manchester in October, that is to railroad it into a punishing underfunded lockdown that will severely damage the hospitality industry and other industries in the supply chain.
“And I hope some Conservative MPs now can understand why we took the stance we did back then. And I say they’re right to take the stance they’re taking now.”
The financial support from the furlough scheme and grants was pointed out to the mayor.
He responded: “Of course, I will look to see what the prime minister puts in the table today. There is talk of more and that is welcome although that’s at a very late hour. The British Beer and Pub Association wrote to the Prime Minister yesterday and they were saying the grants needed to to be the equivalent to the grants in the first lockdown if we’re not to see the loss of huge numbers of pubs across the country.
“Let’s remember what we call wet-led pubs are often in the most deprived communities and they are crucial in those communities because they are a meeting place for people.
“If we see the loss of those pubs, they’ll never come back.
“But there’s a separate issue about the supply chain… The Government have made discretionary support available to councils but what they are saying is there will be no more support for Tier 3 areas than those going into tiers 1 and 2. That cannot possibly be right because this is funding that can be used to support the cleaning industry, catering, security, taxis and all of the industries that are reliant on the pub and restaurant trade.
“And to say to Tier 3 areas you’re getting no more discretionary support than Tier 1 Isle of Wight and Cornwall in Greater Manchester that’s just not a tenable situation.”
Speaking on the decision to allow three household to mix over Christmas, Mr Burnham said: “This is I think part of the problem. The government has been too strict in December to allow a too permissive a Christmas period… I think a more balanced approach should have been taken here.”
The mayor added: “I think a more steady approach would have been better because January is the worst possible time in the National Health Service with or without Covid. And I think it’s a risk to allow five days of mixing of three households.”
Text message scammer found and arrested by police in Manchester city centre hotel
44,000 mobile phone contacts were found on the man’s devices
A man suspected of sending over 26,000 fraudulent text messages was arrested by police officers yesterday afternoon.
The twenty-one year old, who has not yet been named, was found by officers in a hotel down Charles Street in the city centre, at around 3pm. Equipment used as part of a text message scam to defraud people – known as phishing – was also found in his hotel room.
The man was subsequently arrested at the scene.
Detectives from the City of Manchester Central division and Cybercrime Team seized the electronic equipment and his car as a part of their enquiries.
It is estimated that yesterday alone, around 26,000 text messages had already been sent from the devices, all claiming to be from Hermes asking for bank details after a missed delivery.
A total of 44,000 mobile phone contacts are also believed to have been stored on the devices.
Detective Inspector Mark Astbury, of GMP’s City of Manchester Central division, said: “What we have uncovered here are potentially the components of a highly sophisticated and authentic scam that I know many people not just in Greater Manchester but across the country have been potential victims of in recent weeks and months.
“We have a man in custody and various items of potential evidence that we have seized and this is due to the initiative of the hotel staff, who acted on their suspicions, and the subsequent response from our neighbourhood officers in the city centre.
“These are the very early stages of what promises to be a complex and dynamic investigation, and I would like to take the opportunity to remind the public to ensure they keep remaining alert to the daily risks that unscrupulous cyber criminals pose to them by sending these fraudulent messages.”
GMP advise that anyone believing to be affected by this scam, any other phishing attempts or for more information, they can get in touch here.
Teen stops young girl being taken by stranger claiming to be ‘dad’s friend’ as she walked home from school
Emma’s quick thinking saved the school girl from being taken by a stranger
A teenage girl has been praised for her quick thinking as she prevented a child being taken from a stranger.
Fifteen year old Emma Carlile was walking home from school through Wallasey Village in Wirral, Merseyside, when she noticed a man approaching a school girl and telling her that he was her ‘dad’s mate.’
Emma noticed that the girl, who is believed to be around eleven years old, looked alarmed, so decided to intervene.
Emma’s dad, Rik, told the Liverpool Echo: “She said she was walking along and she saw a ‘creepy looking man’ approach a young girl and put his arm around her, which she thought looked odd.
“She noticed when the man approached her she looked a bit startled and then she heard the man say, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, don’t you remember me? I’ve been to your house before’.”
Rik continued: “The girl was saying ‘no, I don’t remember’ but he kept going on saying, ‘I’m your dad’s friend, I’ve met you before.’ At one point, the girl tried to get her phone out and the man said, ‘no you don’t need to ring anyone, you know who I am, I’m your dad’s mate.’”
Emma followed them around a corner and, as they approached a crossing, shouted the first name that came into her head.
She said: “Hey Bethany! Dad will be home tonight from police training.”
The girl apparently looked at her and looked startled but relieved at the same time. As soon as Emma spoke, the man quickly walked away down towards Wallasey Village train station.
Rik said that Emma walked with the girl until she was home safely and informed her parents about what had just happened.
Rik shared his daughter’s encounter on Facebook to warn people with children walking home alone from school. He wrote: “WARNING! My 15 year old daughter was walking home from Weatherhead today through Wallasey village and witnessed an older man walk up to a girl with a Harry Potter backpack and a green coat.
“The man put his arm around her claiming he was her “dads friend,” My daughter recognised that the girl looked alarmed and didn’t know the man and followed them from by the co-op to the crossing by the petrol station.
“Please make your children aware if they walk home alone.”
Emma described the man as being around 6ft tall with short grey hair and stubble. He was of large build wearing a green t-shirt and black trousers.
Leaked documents reveal which Covid restrictions may remain after July 19th
We might have to wear our face masks for a little bit longer…
Leaked documents are claiming that the current social distancing rules and restrictions will be staying in place after the revised ‘freedom day’ on July 19th.
The memo, obtained by Politico, listed a number of restrictions that the government plans to keep in place for the foreseeable future.
According to the leaked documents, face masks may have to remain mandatory in certain settings for the long term, employers and employees will be told to decide amongst themselves as to whether they want to return to the office or work from home.
As well as that, it says some form of border control and quarantine will be needed for a significant period of time to prevent new variants entering the country.
The memo also states that plastic screens – such as those currently used in hairdressers and restaurants – may actually spread Covid rather than prevent it.
Ministers are also considering bringing in new rules for businesses to keep workplaces better ventilated, the documents claim.
Cabinet office sources have since stressed that the document was one of several including multiple options – with nothing signed off by ministers yet or anywhere near being announced.
This comes just days after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pushed back the highly anticipated ‘freedom day’, June 21st, by just short of a month to July 19th.
Johnson said this was a result of the new Delta variant, which makes up for 90% of new cases across the country: “I think it is sensible to wait just a little longer.
“I am confident we won’t need more than four weeks – it’s unmistakably clear that the vaccines are working – but now is the time to ease off the accelerator.
“We have the chance to save many thousands of lives by vaccinating millions more people.”