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Greater Manchester given midday deadline for Tier 3 decision

JUST IN.

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Andy Burnham and other local leaders have been given until midday today to reach an agreement. 

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said ten days of discussions of moving Greater Manchester to Tier 3 have not resulted in an agreement. Jenrick warned that the prime minister would have to intervene if no deal is made by the deadline.

Andy Burnham and other local leaders are demanding further economic support for those businesses that would be affected by the new tighter restrictions in Tier 3. 

Last week, Burnham explained that there is a £62m gap per month between what the government was offering and what they thought was necessary. 

Burnham said he was meeting with council leaders this morning to come up with a ‘fair funding framework’ to help compensate the regions poorest workers, many of whom will suffer under the Tier 3 restrictions. 

He said: “This is about people who work in pubs, people who work in bookies, people who drive taxis, generally the people who Westminster politicians ignore,”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Burnham said: “A late-night ultimatum briefed to the media was a slightly provocative move, but I’m not coming on to rise to that. I’m going to try to be positive and respond and find a way forward.”

Jenrick’s ultimatum said: “We have offered an extensive package of support for local people and businesses, proportionate to the approach we have taken in the Liverpool city region and Lancashire and in addition to the wider national support.”

However, Burnham insisted: “We’ve never been given a figure for that additional support. So what I will be proposing to the Greater Manchester leaders, when we meet this morning, quite early, is that we write to the government with what we think a fair figure is, given we have been under restrictions for three months and that has taken a real toll on people and businesses here.

“The second thing we would need is full flexibility to support the people who we think are going to need to be supported under a tier 3 lockdown.”

Burnham recognised that London asked for support for businesses and workers hit by Tier 2 last week and added: “I don’t disagree with them and I support them in that call. But I hope people will support us in recognising the position that we are in and all along this has been about standing up for people and businesses which otherwise are going to be seriously harmed by a lockdown which at this point in time is not fully funded.

“And it’s really important to stress that this unites everybody in Greater Manchester. This isn’t posturing. It commands the support of our MPs and all of our council leaders.”

One of Greater Manchester’s nine Conservative MP’s (Bury South), said while he was not insistent on 80% furlough wage like Burnham there should be a ‘minimum floor’.

He added: “If it’s not 80%, it’s no lower than a set amount, whether that’s minimum wage or something else, so that we are not forcing people into destitution.

“I appreciate the knock-on effect that has because you couldn’t just introduce that for Greater Manchester, but I do think that’s an area that has unity between Conservatives and Labour. I don’t want to be a member of parliament who pushes someone into destitution so they can’t put food on the table just before Christmas.”

“There needs to be that minimum floor, the threshold beneath which you know you are not going to go, especially as we are approaching winter months. It’s one thing saying 80% during the summer but when a lot more money is going on heating your home we really do need to focus on that.”

Burnham said he made no apology for fighting for a ‘fair financial framework’ that would benefit Greater Manchester’s 2.8m residents, and the rest of England.

“We are standing up not just for ourselves but everywhere. Because there is a very good chance that every part of England will find themselves in tier 3 over the coming winter,” he said.

Manchester City Council leader, Sir Richard Leese told BBC2 Newsnight: “I am hoping that tomorrow (Tuesday) morning we will be able to sit down again with ministers and come to an agreement which will serve the best interests of the people of Manchester,”

“Clearly if Government imposes Tier 3 – and I hope that won’t happen – we will clearly need to comply with that.”

On Sky News this morning, Andy Burnham said ‘this is not about politics’, adding: “I’m coming along today to say I still want to work to try and get a resolution, but I just hope your viewers will understand that this is not about politics.

“I have the support of Conservative MPs here for what I am saying – it is not posturing.”

“I do worry that if the Government is going to go down this route of imposing these punishing lockdowns on local areas, I think it will lose the public support that it will need to try and help us all as a country rise to the fight against this pandemic this winter.”

Burnham further explained that he wanted to ensure the lowest-paid people in the region would be supported if Tier 3 restrictions are put in. He said, ‘these are the people that Westminster politicians traditionally ignore’ 

Adding: “We are not going to do that here. If you’re going to impose a lockdown here, it’s going to cause certain harm … to all of the people that I’ve mentioned.

“That is why we have stood firm, because we don’t believe we can consign our residents to hardship in that way.”

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Aldi launches new ‘bargain hour’ where prices are slashed by 75%

All 912 Aldi stores across the UK will take part in the scheme

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Michael Ely / Geograph

Aldi has announced it’s introducing a special ‘bargain hour’, where shoppers will be able to save 75% on certain goods.

Aldi customers will be able to grab a proper bargain on things like bread, meat and fruit, the supermarket confirmed.

All 912 Aldi stores across the UK will take part in the scheme, marking down perishable products such as fruit, vegetables and meat on their last day of life, just before stores close.

The retailer is doing this to stop fresh produce from going to waste, and it’s part of their wider pledge to halve food waste by 2030.

N Chadwick / Geograph

While at the moment Aldi does reduce the price on certain products when they reach their best-before or use-by dates, it will now be offering bigger savings on products marked with a red sticker.

Julie Ashfield, Managing Director of Buying at Aldi, said: “Aldi is already known for its low prices, but these discounts will help some shoppers to cut their grocery bills even further – all while helping us reduce food waste.

“Customers should look out for the red stickers when shopping at Aldi, but shoppers need to be quick as I’m sure the products will prove popular.”

It’s worth remembering that items will be reduced at different times at different stores, and of course reduced produce is sold on a first-come, first-served basis.

Кирилл Венедиктов / Wikimedia

Meanwhile, Aldi has teamed up with Marcus Rashford to launch a brand new campaign to help feed hungry kids across the UK.

Marcus has been busy over the past year, highlighting the shocking food inequalities in our country and holding the government to account, and he’s been doing a fantastic job.

And while one in five children in the UK currently live in food poverty, the Man United star – who experienced food poverty when he was a kid – won’t stop on his mission to help end this tragedy.

To help tackle the issue of child food poverty, Aldi has confirmed that it will donate 10 million meals to feed families in need across the UK during 2021.

The supermarket has also released a short animation that personifies ‘hunger’ through a child’s eyes, to mark the collaboration with Marcus, with the footballer narrating the emotional poem that accompanies the short film.

The video explores a young kid’s relationship with hunger, using a poem by Giles Andreae, with illustrator Lisa Stickley bringing the story to life via the animation.

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MP calls for teachers to be given the vaccine next so schools can reopen

He’s called on Matt Hancock to give teachers increased priority

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An MP has called for teachers to be given the Covid-19 vaccine so kids can get back to school.

Richard Graham MP is asking Matt Hancock to vaccinate teachers, following the news that Education Secretary Gavin Williamson can’t guarantee schools will reopen after the February half term as was originally planned.

Mr Graham said vaccination was the only way forward, confirming that he has asked the government to make sure teachers are included in the next round of vaccinations, once the 13 million most vulnerable have had their jabs.

Chris McAndrew / Wikimedia

He told GloucestershireLive: “If we want to give teachers, parents, pupils, families real certainty on schools, I think there’s only one way to do it, to vaccinate all the teachers.

“That way schools will know their staff will not have to go off and self-isolate, and are not going to catch the virus.

“Parents will also know their pupils are not going to be either infected by teachers or infect them.

“That would be a huge step forward. It doesn’t rule out all the risks. Pupils can still spread it amongst themselves and then back to their parents at home.”

Hereward House School/Wikimedia

A teacher from Derbyshire has created a petition asking for teachers, school and childcare staff to be prioritised for the coronavirus vaccine.

Charlotte Appleyard’s petition has already gained more than 470,000 signatures, which meant it was discussed in parliament on Monday.

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Sir Alex Ferguson’s emotional message to Marcus Rashford as he’s honoured for his charity work

The footballer was honoured at the Football Writers’ Association annual tribute awards

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Marcus Rashford has been in the news a lot over the past year for his valiant efforts in fighting child food poverty in the UK.

The Manchester United star has now been honoured again for his efforts, becoming the youngest person ever to receive an award at the Football Writers’ Association annual tribute awards.

Sir Alex Ferguson sent the 23-year-old an emotional message after he was honoured in recognition of his hard work tackling child poverty during the Covid-19 crisis, praising the ‘wonderful person’ he had become.

Marcus has been busy highlighting the shocking food inequalities in our country and holding the government to account, and he’s been doing a fantastic job.

And while one in five children in the UK currently live in food poverty, the striker – who experienced food poverty when he was a kid – won’t stop on his mission to help end this tragedy.

The footballer campaigned for free school meals to be extended during holidays, and more recently has raised awareness of the ‘woefully inadequate’ meal parcels some families have been receiving this week.

Marcus has been working with charity FareShare to help deliver food to hungry kids who are no longer getting free school meals, and yesterday it was reported that he’d teamed up with Aldi to donate 10 million meals to families in need.

Sir Alex said: “I would like to congratulate Marcus on his achievement and presentation (of the FWA Tribute Award) tonight.

“I have known him since being a kid of 7 years of age, and seen him develop through the ranks of Manchester United into a truly wonderful person.

“Apart from his football life, what he has achieved in the last few months is quite astonishing, how he has helped the people in need is a truly amazing achievement.

“I would like to congratulate him on that. He has shown to young people in particular there is a different way of dealing with life.

“He has shown great humility, he has shown courage to do what he did, so this achievement is well deserved and should be recognised with what he has done.

“So Marcus, well done on a fantastic achievement.”

Кирилл Венедиктов / Wikimedia

Marcus responded by thanking the legendary United manager, saying: “He has always, from the beginning really, backed me with what I am doing.

“Probably when other people in sports were telling me not to do it and just focus on football, he said if I believed in that, and I believe it is the right thing to do, then he is behind it.

“Those words from him are an amazing feeling to hear that.”

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