Andy Burnham calls for Greater Manchester to be out of Tier 3 after two weeks

Andy Burnham calls for Greater Manchester to be out of Tier 3 after two weeks
Andy Burnham wants Greater Manchester to be moved into Tier 2 within a fortnight if the region’s coronavirus infection rate continues to fall.

The Mayor was reacting to the government’s decision to place the region in Tier 3, the highest category of restrictions under the new system due to take effect on December 2.

It means all hospitality venues will have to stay closed except for takeaway and delivery services.

Other areas with high infection rates, including Liverpool and London, have been placed in the Tier 2 category that allows venues to open if they serve a substantial meal.

Parts of Greater Manchester, including Stockport and Trafford, have infection rates that are below the national average.

Mr Burnham appeared to accept that the government’s decision was the right one, but called for more support for businesses forced to close or those that supply them.

“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,” he said.

“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 week’s 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 risk 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 Tier 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.”

Matt Hancock confirmed Tier 3 restrictions for the region today

“The effect of these policy decision 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.”

Only the Isle of Wight, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have been placed in the lowest Tier 1 set of restrictions, with people in all other parts of England set to face more serious limits to their freedom.

Large swathes of the Midlands, North East and North West are in the most restrictive Tier 3, but London will be in Tier 2.

Liverpool, which had been in Tier 3 before the lockdown, will move to Tier 2 in recognition of efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said “these are not easy decisions, but they have been made according to the best clinical advice”.

He told MPs: “Thanks to the shared sacrifice of everyone in recent weeks, in following the national restrictions, we have been able to start to bring the virus back under control and slow its growth, easing some of the pressure on the NHS.

“We will do this by returning to a regional tiered approach, saving the toughest measures for the parts of the country where prevalence remains too high.”

The chaotic handling of the announcement saw an online postcode checker allowing people to check which tier their area would be in launch before the official details were released. However it soon crashed.

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