Cases in the region are decreasing.
Following the news that Greater Manchester would be placed back in tier 3 following the national lockdown, despite cases significantly decreasing across the region, Andy Burnham has revealed he believes he has a ‘strong case’ to move away from the stricter restrictions upon the next review.
Manchester was subjected to the restrictions just yesterday following Matt Hancock’s announcement to the House of Commons, confirming that the large majority of the North would be placed in the toughest tier. The remainder of the country was placed in tier 2, with the exception of Cornwall, the Isle of Wight and the Isle of Scilly – who will all live under tier 1 restrictions. Restrictions are currently set to be reviewed ahead of December 16.
Expressing disappointment on Twitter with a series of tweets, Mayor Andy Burnham shared a number of statistics which revealed how the government’s decision was made, confirming that he felt Manchester could be moved into Tier 2 in two weeks time as a result of continuously decreasing cases. Burnham said: “People will have to draw their own conclusions on the rights/wrongs.
“What I can say is we’ll likely have a very strong case for Tier 2 in two weeks. I’ll be asking all GM MPs to join us in a strong cross-party appeal.”
Burnham also said in a statement: “Greater Manchester’s infection rate is reducing faster than any other part of the country but we have to accept that it is still significantly higher than the England average. That said, if the current rate of improvement continues, we will be asking the Government to move our city-region into Tier 2 in two weeks’ time.
“What we believe is completely wrong is the Government’s decision to provide no additional business support to areas in Tier 3 than those in Tiers 1 and 2.
“The new Tier 3 will hit the hospitality sector extremely hard. While there are grants for businesses forced to close, there is no extra support for business which supply them like security, catering and cleaning. This will cause real hardship for people whose jobs will be affected and risks the loss of many businesses.
“Ministers need to explain how they believe it is fair for Tier 3 areas to get no more support than those in Tiers 1 and 2. They also need to explain why places with high numbers of hospitality businesses – like city centres – get the same population-based grant as more suburban and rural areas with fewer businesses affected.
“The effect of these policy decisions will be to level down the economies of city-regions across the North. It is unfair and the opposite of what the Government has promised to do. Ministers must review this and provide more financial support to Tier 3 areas.”
Under the current restrictions, hospitality businesses must remain closed except for takeaway and delivery services, with households banned from mixing indoors and entertainment venues (both outdoors and indoors) banned from operating, too. A move to tier 2 would see hospitality businesses selling food permitted to re-open until 11pm daily, with both indoor and outdoor events allowed to go ahead. GM’s current infection rate sits at 276 per 100,000, compared to the previous week’s 432.