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Four North West areas are in the current top ten places worst hit by coronavirus in England

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Several areas in the North West are currently among the worst affected by coronavirus, new data has revealed.

According to Public Health England and the Department for Health, they are ‘working collaboratively’ to focus on areas where coronavirus cases are rising, Sky News reports. 

New figures from PHE show Leicester (140.2 cases per 100,000 people), Bradford (69.44), Barnsley (54.65) and Rochdale (53.64) are the areas worst affected by coronavirus.

These four areas have at least 45 cases per 100,000 people in the week to June 21st – although none of the other three have levels anywhere near as high as Leicester. 

The next category (30-44.9 cases per 100,000) includes six areas: Bedford (41.95), Oldham (38.62), Rotherham (33.63), Tameside (33.3), Blackburn with Darwen (32.9), and Kirklees (30.31).

Further down the list, Manchester ranks 15th worst with 21.55 cases per per 100,000 people.

Despite reports yesterday that Wigan was on a list of areas that could potentially be put into local lockdown, these new figures show that it’s actually only 74th on the list with a rate of just 5.52. 

An updated list ending June 28th is expected to be published tomorrow. 

The British Medical Association has called for the government to provide accurate data on local coronavirus spikes to ensure those areas can react quickly to save lives and protect the NHS. 

There are two sets of figures released, Pillar 1 includes the number of patients and staff testing as positive in hospital and PHE labs, Pillar 2 includes positive cases identified in testing centres. 

Leicester City Council has just received accesses to the data in Pillar 2. 

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A spokesperson said: “PHE publishes daily cases of COVID-19 broken down by local authority which includes people tested as part of pillar 1.

“This is used as one of a number of indicators to help us and partner organisations to identify trends in local areas and to take action accordingly.

“To use these data in isolation to predict which areas will see significant increases in cases is not appropriate as they do not provide a complete picture of what is happening locally.”

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association’s community well-being board, told Sky News: “More data is starting to be shared with councils’ directors of public health, which is good news. It is clear that more precise, granular information is needed in order to help councils track down and isolate any specific outbreaks or clusters.

“This data needs to be provided promptly and shared quickly, with both district councils and upper tier local authorities, to ensure the swiftest and most effective response.

“Proportionate responses, which have the consent of the community, are the best way in dealing with local outbreaks and we expect this to happen in the vast majority of cases. Councils want to work with the public and local businesses on this and the use of powers should only ever be needed as a last resort, to manage the outbreak and prevent the spread of infection.”

Bradford Council Leader Susan Hinchcliffe said figures from PHE show Bradford ‘with a high number of infections along with a number of other northern authorities, although we are some way behind Leicester’.

Wandsworth Council leader Ravi Govindia said: “These claims of a local surge and a lockdown are wholly inaccurate and people should not panic or feel unduly alarmed.”

Dr Mark Ansell, Havering Council’s director of public health, said: “Public Health England London have reviewed cases in London and the overall trend remains downwards. We are nowhere near the levels where a lockdown would even be considered.”


Labour pledges to renationalise railways and hire thousands of doctors and nurses

The party’s shadow transport secretary said the conservative’s ‘disastrous rail system’ has ‘catastrophically failed us all’

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The Labour Party

The Labour party has pledged to bring the nation’s railways back into state ownership if it wins the next general election.

Speaking at the party’s annual conference in Liverpool today, Shadow Transport Secretary Louise Haigh said putting ‘failing private operators in the hands of the public’ would ‘improve services and lower fares’. 

Haigh added that the government’s ‘disastrous rail system’ has ‘catastrophically failed us all’ and turned railways into a ‘cash machine for companies and foreign governments’.

She cited the recent Avanti West Coast disruption as an example, slamming it as ‘the worst performing operator in the country’ over its long delays and service disruptions.

During its conference, the party also promised a recruitment drive for thousands more NHS doctors, nurses and midwives by reversing the Conservative party’s abolition of the 45p tax rate for top earners.

The scrapping of the 45p tax rate – which is paid for by those who earn over £150,000 a year – has received huge backlash from both Labour and Conservative MPs, many of whom say the move is only set to benefit the wealthy.

Shadow Chancellor Rachel Reeves said the billions of pounds saved on reversing this cap would deliver ‘one of the biggest expansions of the NHS workforce in history’, instead of handing financial rewards to the UK’s top earners.

She announced that under Labour’s plan, the money saved would pay to double the number of district nurses qualifying every year, train 5,000 more health visitors, and create an extra 10,000 nursing and midwifery each year.

She also said that the number of medical school places would be doubled from 7,500 to 15,000 to ‘make sure that everyone who wants to train as a doctor in Britain can’.

Reeves said: “Our priority is not tax cuts for the wealthiest few – it is securing our public finances and investing in our public service.

“I can tell you: with a Labour government, those at the top will pay their fair share. The 45p top rate of income tax is coming back.”


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Boy, 15, arrested after teenage boy stabbed to death outside school

He’s the second person to be arrested

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West Yorkshire Police

A teenage boy has been arrested following the murder of a 15-year-old on Wednesday.

The suspect, also 15, was picked up by police after student Khayri McLean was stabbed to death in Huddersfield.

He has now been arrested in connection with the murder.

He’s the second person to be arrested as police investigate Khayri’s death outside his school.

West Yorkshire Police said: “Police investigating the murder of 15-year-old Khayri McLean in Huddersfield have arrested a second youth in connection with the incident.

“The 15-year-old male was arrested yesterday and is currently in custody. A 16-year-old male who was arrested yesterday also remains in custody.

“Officers from West Yorkshire Police’s homicide and major enquiry team (HMET) are continuing to conduct enquiries into the death of Khayri, who died after being stabbed on Woodhouse Hill, Huddersfield, on Wednesday.”

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Kwasi Kwarteng scraps cap on bankers’ bonuses in first mini-budget as Chancellor


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Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng gave his first mini-budget in the House of Commons this morning.

He began by discussing the government’s plan to support people with the cost of energy, including freezing domestic bills at £2,500 and giving out the £400 rebate.

There’s also unit price limits for companies.

Kwarteng said he believes the UK needs a ‘new approach for a new era’ to achieve growth of 2.5%, saying the three important parts of his mini-budget are reforming the economy’s supply side, tax cuts and a responsible approach when it comes to public finances.

As part of this, the Chancellor announced a new bill to overhaul planning restrictions, saying this will ‘unpick the complex patchwork of planning restrictions and EU-derived laws’.

He revealed that benefit claimants will see their benefits reduced if they do not fulfil their job searching commitments.

Kwarteng also confirmed that the cap on bankers’ bonuses will be scrapped, following reports that he would make this one of his first moves.

As well as that, the planned corporation tax increase has been cancelled, and will remain at 19%, with the Chancellor also setting out a series of tax cuts for businesses.

This includes tax cuts for businesses in designated tax sites for 10 years, accelerated tax reliefs for buildings, and no business rates to pay for newly occupied business residences.

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