LONDON — Manchester is in revolt against Boris Johnson’s local lockdown plan.
In a statement on Thursday, Mayor Andy Burnham said he and fellow local leaders in the Greater Manchester region were now “fighting back” against the U.K. government’s decision to impose its highest category of COVID-19 restrictions on their population.
Burnham, the Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, claimed one of Johnson’s lead scientific advisers had told local leaders that the proposed U.K. government category tier three — or “very high” — restrictions might not even be enough to bring the region’s soaring infection rate down. He questioned why jobs and livelihoods should be risked for an uncertain strategy, without additional financial support.
Jonathan Van Tam, England’s deputy chief medical officer had told leaders that “the only thing certain to work … is a national lockdown,” Burnham said, adding that the government was resisting that approach “because of the damage it will do to the national economy.”
Burnham said Greater Manchester, the neighboring Liverpool city region — where tier three restrictions are already in place — and Lancashire were 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.” Burnham’s party leader Keir Starmer this week called for a temporary, “circuit breaker” national lockdown.
Burnham said he and fellow local leaders in the region were “unanimously opposed the government’s plans for tier three” and called for a more generous jobs support scheme covering 80 percent of the wages of all affected workers. The government’s planned scheme covers two thirds of the wages of workers at business forced to close by government restrictions. Tier three restrictions mean the closure of all bars and pubs that do not serve meals.
The intervention is the latest sign of a fraying coronavirus consensus between the U.K.’s nations and England’s regions. Wales is likely to unilaterally implement the kind of “circuit bRead More – Source