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Andy Burnham will ‘use whatever means’ to challenge the government if Manchester is hit with even more restrictions

Pubs and restaurants could be forced to shut.

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Andy Burnham has revealed that he will ‘use whatever means he can’ to challenge the government if they impose stricter lockdown restrictions in Greater Manchester. 

It comes following the leaked government plans which revealed pubs and restaurants in hotspots, such as the North and Greater Manchester, will be closed from Monday. 

The plans have received a lot of backlash from leader’s in the North, and from Tory MPs who are considering rebelling against the PM. 

Many leaders in the North have explained that the first they heard about the government’s new three tier system was on the front pages of Thursday’s newspapers.

Mr Burnham said he would challenge any measures the government imposes in the North West while speaking on BBC Question Time.

He said: “I will not accept the government just imposing restrictions and these decisions upon us, briefing them to newspapers late at night. They need to treat the people of the North of England with more respect.”

Fiona Bruce asked: “When you say you won’t accept it, what are you talking about? Civil disobedience?”

He responded: “I won’t support it. Earlier in the summer they asked for my support and I did provide it, but if they come with restrictions without full support for the people and the businesses affected, I won’t support it. But actually more than that, I will challenge it.

“I will use whatever means I can to challenge it to get support for people because otherwise they are going to suffer real hardship this winter – we are going to see businesses failing.

“I even threatened possible legal action over the A-levels in the summer because I wasn’t prepared to accept that either, because that disadvantaged young people in the North of England, we need change here.

“I’ve offered to work with them time and time again but I think the mood in the North of England this week, speaking to local leaders, business leaders, is that the government has lost the dressing room and they have to work very hard now to get it back.”

Mr Burnham’s anger is felt amongst most other Northern leaders, and they are planning a formal alliance in opposition to any attempt of government restrictions without funding from the Treasury.

Dan Jarvis, Mayor of Sheffield, tweeted: “Recklessly irresponsible to brief the papers but not leaders in the North who’ll somehow have to make this work. Get a grip @BorisJohnson.”

Andy Burnham reiterated his point on Twitter saying: “If the Government closes businesses across the North without providing proper compensation and a local furlough scheme for staff, then, yes, I will challenge them in any way I can.”

Leader of Leeds city council, Judith Blake said: “We’re working with both hands tied behind our backs, trying to do the best thing locally, and then you get the government just leaking information to the press. It’s so depressing. I’m sure it’s a tactic too: put it out there, soften people up, see what the reaction is.”

The reports of a new three-tier system come following rising infection rates. MPs received a briefing from the government’s Covid taskforce on Thursday claiming that bars, pubs and restaurants accounted for 41% of cases in two or more under-30s who had visited the venue a week before testing positive.

However, The Telegraph explains that the published data explains otherwise. The NHS Test and Trace has recorded that the location at which infected people met close contacts who were later found positive was overwhelmingly in the home.

75.3% of people contacted by tracers came into contact with an infected person in their home or someone else’s, according to PHE figures released last Friday. 

It adds that ‘leisure or community’ which includes pubs, restaurants, places of worship, celebrations, entertainment, organised trips and community activities, were responsible for just 5% of reported close contact – adding that the vast majority of outbreaks happen in schools, workplaces and care homes.

Blake added that she was not convinced hospitality is to blame, saying: “Up to this point our evidence is pointing to the higher risk of infection being in households and confined indoor spaces.” 

Mr Burnham is demanding local authorities can see the restrictions and the financial support before they are announced, adding that he is losing patience with the government. He explained: “There is no way at all I will sign off on the closure of any business without a local furlough scheme.”

The Guardian reports that 19,000 businesses in West Yorkshire will require financial support if Leeds and Bradford are put into the highest level of the three-tier system, putting 28,000 jobs on the line. 

Northern cities are forming an alliance to ensure that the ‘city centres aren’t decimated’. Blake added: “It’s difficult to say at this precise moment what we will do but there is real concern and real anger coming from the business community in terms of what is expected of them.”

The new coronavirus restrictions are reportedly going to impact the majority of Northern England, from Barrow in Cumbria to Merseyside, Greater Manchester, much of Lancashire and Yorkshire and most of the North East, as well as Nottinghamshire in the Midlands.

Steve Rotheram, the mayor of the Liverpool city region, said: “Significant restrictions like those being proposed must also come with significant financial support for local businesses that will be affected, local councils who are leading our public health efforts and for NHS test and trace.”

Tory MP Simon Fell, who is part of the rebellion on the nationwide 10pm curfew – which he explains is having the opposite effect of what was intended – said: “I haven’t seen the science for that.

“Frankly my concerns is that it’s spilling people out into the streets and into house parties and it’s those uncontrolled environments where the infections are spreading. Looking at the data, we are not seeing cases in Covid-secure venues.”

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Stagecoach hiring over 100 new bus drivers for Bee Network with £31k salaries

Fancy a career change?

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Stagecoach

Stagecoach Manchester is hiring over 100 new bus drivers to work from its Oldham depot, following the second phase of the Bee Network launch in March.

You can apply for a range of roles, from positions with no experience required to fully qualified bus drivers.

Successful applicants will receive full training as part of the job, and trainees will get paid to train. Then after only 12 months’ service at Stagecoach, drivers can expect to earn up to £16 per hour, which equates to £31.6K per year, before overtime.

As well as that, drivers that already hold a PCV licence may be eligible to receive a £1,200 joining bonus.

Stagecoach

There’s also a host of other benefits available to all Stagecoach employees, like 28 days paid holiday, generous pension and free Stagecoach bus travel for successful applicants and a companion.

Rob Jones, Managing Director at Stagecoach Manchester said: “Expanding our offering in Oldham means we’ll be investing more in the economy and supporting our local community, as well as strengthening our workforce.

“Whether you’re looking for a career change or you’re a fully qualified, experienced bus driver, there’s a role for everyone here in Oldham.

“We’re looking for personable and dedicated drivers who are ready to help us build on the success of the Bee Network and connect the people of Oldham and Greater Manchester with the places and people that are important to them.”

Stagecoach

Phil Cornwall, bus driver at Stagecoach Manchester, said: “I’ve been a driver at Stagecoach for 25 years and I couldn’t recommend it more.

“From the perks to the people to the passengers, it really is a great place to work.”

To apply, head to the Stagecoach website HERE.

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Two men charged with murder after torso discovered in Salford nature reserve

BREAKING:

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Greater Manchester Police

Two men have now been charged with murder, following the discovery of a human torso in Kersal Dale.

As well as that, more suspected human remains were also discovered this morning, Monday April 29th, in an alleyway close to the railway lines off Worsley Road, Eccles.

This follows earlier discoveries of human remains over the past three weeks, at Kersal Dale, Blackleach Reservoir and Colliery Wood, all in Salford.

Greater Manchester Police


Michal Jaroslaw Polchowski (25/04/1956) and Marcin Majerkiewicz (10/04/1982) both of Worsley Road, Eccles, have been charged with murder.

They are set to appear at Tameside Magistrates Court this afternoon.

While formal identification is still ongoing, the remains found at Kersal Dale are believed to be of a local man in his 60s. The remains found at the other three locations are still to be tested, but police are confident they belong to the same victim.

ACC Sarah Jackson said: “We have had large numbers of officers, staff and specialists working diligently on this investigation over the last three weeks. It has been very much a large, collective effort, with the victim and family at the heart of it from the outset.

“We have specially trained officers deployed to support the family as they come to terms with this tragic news. They are aware of this morning’s further discovery and will continue to be kept up to date with how we are progressing.

“Despite the charges brought today, our work is far from over.

“The scenes we already have established in Bury and Salford will remain in place for much of this week whilst our searches and enquiries continue. Local officers will continue to patrol the impacted areas to provide reassurance.

“We will continue following every line of enquiry to recover and reunite the victim with his family, bringing a dignified end to this terrible scenario.

“I’d like to thank the communities of Salford and beyond for their cooperation throughout this investigation. I know this incident has come as a shock, and the support we’ve had from those in the area is very much appreciated.”

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More human remains discovered in Greater Manchester as police identify victim

All the latest updates

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N Chadwick / Geograph

Detectives investigating the discovery of a torso in Kersal Dale have found more human remains around Greater Manchester.

GMP released a statement on the weekend, revealing they had opened four scenes for extensive searches – one of them at a warehouse in Bury, and three in Salford.

Searches took place at Blackleach reservoir, where human remains were found, and a dog walker found a package containing human remains at Colliery Wood.

Officers believe they have now identified the man, who they believe to be a man in his 60s that lived in Salford, and his family have been informed.

Two suspects have already been arrested in connection with the murder probe, with officers saying they are thought to have lived with the victim.

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Detective Superintendent Lewis Hughes, Senior Investigating Officer for this investigation, said in a statement at Blackleach reservoir yesterday, Sunday April 28th: “We have continued to make significant progress in our investigation into human remains being found in Kersal earlier this month.

“From day one, our priority has been to identify the man and his family so that we can give them the support and the answers that they need.

“Thanks to meticulous forensic work, we are now confident we have identified the man. Formal identification hasn’t yet taken place, but we believe he is a man in his 60s and lived in Salford.

“Specially-trained family liaison officers have met with his family this afternoon to give them the devastating news, and we will do all that we can to support them at this awful time.

“We believe he is known to the two suspects we have in custody. They have remained in custody for questioning over the weekend, as we work to establish how the victim met this tragic outcome.”

He continued: “We have painstakingly worked to follow up every line of inquiry in this investigation. Over the last couple of days, we have acted on information and had four scenes in place for extensive searches – one of them is at a warehouse in Bury, and three of them are in Salford, including here at Blackleach reservoir.

“Today, we have found some human remains at the reservoir here, and last night a dog walker found a package containing human remains at Colliery Wood. Forensic tests will continue to establish whose remains these are, but we are very confident that this is also the victim in our investigation.

“We have also been searching a house in Winton where we believe the victim and the two suspects lived. We have found evidence that the victim is likely to have died there – most likely in late March.

“While this is significant progress, we know there is still some way to go to complete this investigation. I also recognise details of this case will have been distressing for the people of Salford and beyond – including the officers that are diligently working on this investigation, and most importantly the man’s heartbroken family.

“Local officers will continue to patrol the affected areas, and we will provide updates when we have more information.”

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