Manchester lockdown REVOLT: Andy Burnham lashes out at Boris’s coronavirus plan -‘Flawed!’

Manchester lockdown REVOLT: Andy Burnham lashes out at Boris’s coronavirus plan -‘Flawed!’

Holding a press conference to make his attack on the Government’s plan, he accused Boris Johnson of “taking a gamble” with the higher lockdown, warning scientists remained unconvinced the measures would work.

Mr Burnham said: “Today we communicated our clear and unanimous view to the Government. It is wrong to place some of the poorest parts of England in a punishing lockdown without proper support for the people and businesses affected.

“To do so will result in certain hardship, job losses, business failure.

“It will cause harm in a different way to people’s mental health and is not certain to control the virus.

“Last night the deputy chief medical officer told the leaders that to bring the infection rates down any regional lockdown would require widespread closures way beyond pubs to stand any real chance of working.”

Mr Burnham said the proposed lockdown for Greater Manchester would have to have been implemented together with neighbouring regions “and even then it would not be certain to work”.

He said: “The Government is not giving city regions like ours and the Liverpool City Region the necessary financial backing for full lockdowns of that kind.

“That is why we have unanimously opposed the Government’s plans for Tier 3. They are flawed and unfair.

“They are asking us to gamble our residents’ jobs, homes and businesses and a large chunk of our economy on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work.

“We would never sign up for that.”

The Greater Manchester Mayor said the Deputy Schief Medical Officer had suggested a nationwide lockdown is the “only certain thing to work”.

He continued: “While this is not necessarily Greater Manchester’s view, the deputy chief medical officer also told us last night that the only certain thing to work is a national lockdown.

“But the Government told us this morning it is unwilling to do that because of the damage it will do to the national economy.

“And yet that is what they want to impose on the North West.

“So that was our conclusion from the Number 10 meeting this morning: they are willing to try and sacrifice jobs and businesses here to try and save them elsewhere.”

Mr Burnham said Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire “are being set up as the canaries in the coalmine for an experimental regional lockdown strategy”.

He again called for the Government to provide people in Greater Manchester who will be forced to close theior businesses by 80 percent furlought to provide their workers with, as well as a “proper” compensation scheme for those impacted firms.

The Mayor said: “Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire are being set up as the canaries in the coalmine for an experimental regional lockdown strategy as an attempt to prevent the expense of what is truly needed,” he said.

“The very least they should be offering the people of Greater Manchester who will be affected by these closures is a full and fair 80 percent furlough for all affected workers, 80 percent income support for people who are self-employed, and a proper compensation scheme for businesses.

“So far, they have not been prepared to offer that.”

A furious row has broken out between Boris Johnson’s Government and leaders in Greater Manchester over efforts to impose much stricter coronavirus restrictions.

The Government wants the region’s politicians to accept Tier 3 measures, which states pubs and bars would have to close unless they could operate as resturants.

But MPs and council chiefs are raging at the plan and the way it has been managed by Downing Street and the Department of Health and Social Care.

Greater Manchester is demanding additional funding to be made available if the stricter measures are imposed.

Mr Burnham has threatened legal action if Tier 3 restrictions are imposed without agreement.

THIS IS A BREAKING STORY. MORE TO FOLLOW…

Published at Thu, 15 Oct 2020 14:47:00 +0000