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.”
Woolworths possibly returning to British highstreet next year
Please be true.
A Twitter account called ‘UKWoolworths’ claims the much-loved chain will be making a comeback to the high street next year.
The account posted on Twitter to explain that three new trial stores will be opened late next year. They wrote: “Here to save 2020! Woolworths is coming back to your high street, as a physical store!
“A couple of legal things to get sorted, but we’re full steam ahead at Woolworths HQ.
“We want to get this right, so we need your help. What do you want at your UK #YourWoolworths?”
They went onto explain that they want fans to tell them exactly what they want from their local Woolies to make sure they get the reopening right.
They added: “Throughout this week, we’ll have announcements and chances to win gift cards for Woolworths and gift cards for other retailers on your high street. Welcome back to Woolworths!”
In response, one person wrote: “Apart from pick ‘n’ mix and the top 40 singles, cheap but good quality homeware like saucepans and picture frames and doormats and pillows. And sewing thread and needles. And shoe polish. And seeds and compost and plant pots. Everything Just what it was before, that’s all.”
Another said “I want pick n mix and lots of gift items”.
Another person added: “It’s got to be kid friendly. Easy access, wide aisles and full of stuff kids love. Comics, books, stationary, pic ‘n’ mix etc. Don’t try and stock a little bit of everything… Decide your market and stick to just that.”
However, not everyone is convinced the news is really true. One person wrote ‘obviously a hoax’ and another said the news is a ‘twisted and cruel PRANK’.
Another wrote ‘it’s a scam’ and a third added ‘it’s fake news’.
Do you hope the news is true or not?!
Scooters are now available in Salford for public use
Let’s hope this goes better than the Mobikes…
Salford City Council and the University of Salford are said to be thrilled to be trialling the new project.
The Department for Transport has opened the doors for cities, including Salford, to trial new schemes for renting e-scooters.
Previously banned in the UK, the introduction of e-scooters is to discourage workers from using their cars in cities.
Lime, the company behind the e-scooter trial, is a US-based company that currently already operates in London, Milton Keynes, Europe and of course the USA.
With great success in other cities, we can’t wait to see the scooters take off in Salford.
Costing £1 to unlock then an additional 15p per minute whilst you’re out and about. Each scooter is also fitted with an alarm which will activate if someone tried to move it without unlocking.
It’s important you remember to obey traffic laws, to ride safely in the bike lane or street and to wear a helmet.
Will you be trialing the new scooters? Let us know!
Manchester United set to deliver 5,000 free meals for local kids over half-term
Manchester United have announced they will be delivering 5,000 free meals to children over half-term.
Food provided by charity FareShare will be processed and packaged into individual meals at Old Trafford by United staff this week.
It will then be shipped out to local Manchester United Foundation partner schools.
The six schools involved include Waterhead Academy, Dean Trust Rose Bridge, The East Manchester Academy, Manchester Enterprise Academy, Manchester Academy, Stretford High School. Other charities will also receive some of the meals as part of the scheme.
It comes as United Striker, Marcus Rashford, campaigned to extend free meal provision until Easter 2021. MP’s voted against the action last week but are now facing a lot of pressure to reverse their decision.
A statement from the club reads: “Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, more and more families are dealing with food poverty,”
“The impact of the virus has exacerbated an existing problem and, with unemployment rising and the economic crisis biting hard, many are struggling with reduced income.
“As a result, many families and children simply do not have enough food and are going hungry. This initiative does not solve the issue locally, but will make a significant difference to the lives of hundreds of families across Greater Manchester.”
John Shiels, the chief executive of the Manchester United Foundation, added: “We’re incredibly proud and humbled to be working with FareShare over October half-term.
“This initiative will go a long way to ensuring that pupils from our partner schools and families using local food-banks have fresh meals to eat, during what we know is a difficult time for many.
“We’ve seen first-hand how children from socially challenged backgrounds can be even more vulnerable when they’re not in school, it’s therefore imperative to be present in their lives throughout the school holidays, showing that we care and the Foundation is always here to support.”