BREAKING: Greater Manchester leaders say they are ‘fighting back’ for a fair deal
Mayor Andy Burnham, Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes, and Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese hosted a press conference on Thursday (15 October) afternoon, claiming they are "unanimously opposed" to Tier 3 and the "hardships" the measures will cause.
Greater Manchester’s leaders have spoken out as the tier saga continues – claiming they are “fighting back” for a “fair deal” for the region.
Mayor Andy Burnham, Deputy Mayor Bev Hughes, and Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese hosted a press conference on Thursday (15 October) afternoon, claiming they are “unanimously opposed” to Tier 3 and the “hardships” the measures will cause.
Burnham stated: “We are being asked 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.”
Deputy Mayor Hughes followed up: “I’d like to ask the government – what is the rationale for feeling that the people of Greater Manchester can manage if they’re laid off on 60% of their income, when the previous lockdown gave people 80%?”
Mr. Leese added: “There is no need for Tier 3.”
The conference followed a meeting held between ministers and Manchester MPs who – for the second time in the space of a week – were arguing against the implementation of stricter measures in Greater Manchester.
Whether Greater Manchester will actually enter Tier 3 at some stage remains unclear, and Burnham has called that a “decision for the government.”
However, local leaders remain opposed to entering the ‘very high’ risk category under current circumstances.
Under Tier 3 rules, pubs and bars that do not serve ‘substantial’ meals must close, whilst different households cannot mix in any setting.
The government also advises against travelling in/out Tier 3 areas.
Fitness centres, gyms, bookmakers and casinos can also close under these rules.
Mayor Burnham has repeatedly claimed the financial package to support closed businesses is insufficient, and would therefore “not accept” any additional measures being imposed on Manchester.
Last weekend, local MPs and hospitality leaders urged the government to avoid placing the ten boroughs into the ‘very high’ risk category, even considering legal action.
When the finalised tier system was announced in the House of Commons on Monday, it appeared their request had been granted – with the PM listing Greater Manchester in Tier 2.
But subsequent recommendations from health experts prompted the government to reconsider their decision the very next day – with an emergency Gold Command meeting held to determine whether Greater Manchester should be reclassified.
It was predicted that regions could experience movement between tiers over time, especially as case rates moved up and down.
But immediate indecisiveness over categorisation has created extreme friction between the government and some local authorities.
Elsewhere in the UK, London has been moved from Tier 1 to Tier 2 – resulting in a ban on households mixing indoors across the capital.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan had been hinting that harsher measures could be on the way, with a second wave leading to case rate rises all over the UK.
Northern Ireland announced a four-week ‘circuit breaker’ earlier this week. The new rules will come into effect on Friday, with pubs and restaurants forced to shut (except for takeaway). NI schools will also close for two weeks, whilst places of worship, shops and gyms can stay open.
Chester Zoo is giving away 35,000 FREE tickets to children
Chester Zoo is giving away tickets to local schools to help inspire a whole new generation of young conservationists.
The UK’s largest charity zoo is on a mission to help nature to “survive and thrive”.
And so, in a bid to do just that, has announced that it will once again be handing out tens of thousands of tickets to schoolchildren for completely free of charge, so that they can explore the zoo up close and learn all about the inspiring work the conservation charity does.
Chester Zoo‘s free ticket scheme has been running since 2017, and has already seen more than 100,000 children get to experience all the wonders the zoo has to offer.
With the hopes of empowering as many youngsters as possible, and sparking their passion for saving species once again, the zoo has now opened the scheme back up for the 2024/25 season – with a whopping 35,000 tickets available for schools, nurseries, and colleges to claim.
Not only that, but the zoo has also decided to open the initiative up to the education providers that haven’t benefited from the scheme within the last three years.
Every school participating in the programme will receive a free resource pack to help maximise the educational impact of their zoo visit.
“Every one of us is a custodian of our natural world,” commented Charlotte Smith, who is the Director of Conservation Education and Engagement at Chester Zoo, “But it’s the next generation of conservationists who are fundamentally important to overcoming the environmental and biodiversity challenges our planet is facing.
“They are inspiring and they give us hope, which is why we’re so keen to connect them with the awe and wonder of nature and help to nurture their passion and desire to make a difference.
“It’s proven that a visit to the zoo can significantly enhance people’s understanding of the huge efforts that go into conserving highly threatened species, while also bringing physical and mental health benefits.
“That’s why we particularly want to reach youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds and ensure they are the primary beneficiaries of the initiative, so we can provide them with the skills and know-how to go on and make a real, positive difference to wildlife in their everyday lives.”
The zoo is hoping to help inspire a whole new generation of young conservationists / Credit: Chester Zoo
Applications for Chester Zoo’s Free School Visits programme are now open, with free visits able to take place between Friday 1 November 2024 – Friday 28 February 2025, and any forms that are incomplete or received after the deadline date of Friday 22 March 2024 are unable to be processed.
The scheme is open exclusively for nurseries, schools, and college groups.
Places are open to schools who haven’t taken advantage of the scheme in the last four academic years, and will be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis, so the zoo is advising that people complete and submit the application form at “your earliest opportunity” to make sure they don’t miss out.