The North will not be treated as “canaries in the coalmine for an experimental regional lockdown strategy said Andy Burnham has said during a press conference outside the Central Library as the battle continues between the region and the Government over Covid restrictions
“They are asking us to gamble our residents jobs, home and businesses, and a large chunk of the country’s economy, on a strategy that their own experts tell them might not work,” he added. “We will never sign up to that.” the Mayor added.
The Mayor claimed that the deputy chief medical officer had told local leaders “the only certain thing to work is a national lockdown… but the Government told us they are not willing to consider that”.
Burnham said that to bring the infection rates down, any regional lockdown would require widespread closures – way beyond pubs – to have any chance of working… and even then it would not be certain to work.
“The Government is not giving city regions like ours the necessary financial backing for full lockdowns of that kind.” he said adding
“That is why we have unanimously opposed the Government’s plans for tier three,” he adds. “They are unfair.”
To accept a Tier 3 lockdown the Mayor said that a full and fair 80% furlough be OFSTED for all affected workers, 80% income support for people who are self-employed and a proper compensation scheme for businesses.
“People aren’t willing to be pushed around anymore…this is real. The north stands on the brink of being back where we were in the 1980s, forgotten, pushed aside.’
Refuting the notion of not working together, The Mayor added:
“To those who say this is all politics, let me remind you that, 10 weeks ago, myself, the two Deputy Mayors and all the Leaders become the first to work with the Government in accepting regional restrictions and people here have been struggling under them ever since.
This is an important moment. Greater Manchester will stand firm.
We are fighting back – for fairness and for the health of our people in the broadest sense.”