The latest data showing coronavirus (COVID-19) infection rates has been released and it’s revealed a rise in cases across nearly every Greater Manchester borough.
Figures from the last week, which were released by the government on Thursday afternoon, show that the infection rate in Oldham has risen the most sharply in the region, but rates are seen to be going up week-on-week in seven of the ten Greater Manchester boroughs.
The city of Manchester, Tameside, Salford, Trafford, Bolton and Stockport have also seen significant increases.
Oldham’s infection rate has now reached 67.9 per 100,000 people, after there were 161 positive cases in the week up until this Monday 3rd August, and which is said to be the biggest weekly total since 8th May. There has been more than 100 positive cases for COVID-19 in Oldham in the few days since the new measures were imposed across Greater Manchester and this figure is due to rise once late test results are added in the coming days.
In the city of Manchester, 183 cases were recorded in the week up to 3rd August, and whilst this is 28 cases more than the previous week, the rate has still fallen slightly since local lockdown measures came into effect.
Infection rates in Tameside (26.5 – 67 new cases) and Salford (27.4 – 71 new cases) have also risen sharply over the last week and both now have a higher rate than Trafford (26.5), where the number of cases has fallen by 36 in the last week since the previous, with a recorded total of 63 new cases.
Stockport (25.6 – 75 new cases) and Bolton (24.4 – 70 new cases) have also seen infection rates increase in the last week.
Dr Helen Lowey, Director of Public Health at Bolton Council, stated that she was “disappointed” to see figures rising in the borough, but that this increase was expected. She said: “We have increased the amount of testing that is taking place, so we would expect the number of cases to rise, [but] we continue to monitor the situation and to work with our residents and businesses.”
“Coronavirus has not gone away and we are still in the middle of a global pandemic [so] we must continue to stick to the new rules introduced for Bolton and other parts of the north of England.”
“We continue to monitor the local picture closely along with our partners in health and social care and Public Health England.”
In Bury, infection rates are growing, but remain low overall, whilst in Wigan, there has been no noticeable rise over the last week making it the borough with the lowest rates of any area in Greater Manchester.
The latest figures show Oldham remains at alert level ‘red’, Manchester, Rochdale, Tameside, Salford, Trafford and Stockport are rated ‘amber’, and Bolton, Bury and Wigan are rated ‘green’.
This latest data comes the week after Health Secretary Matt Hancock made the announcement on the evening of Thursday 30th July that people in certain areas of Northern England – crucially including all 10 boroughs of Greater Manchester – would no long be permitted to congregate privately with others outside their household or support bubble due to a rise in coronavirus (COVID-19) cases across these regions.
Legislation to legally enforce these new restrictions was published by the government five days after the announcement and came into force on Wednesday 5th August.
You can check the latest infection rates across Greater Manchester in full here.
To check the latest COVID-related death toll figures and information for your area, you can input your postcode via the Office for National Statistics (ONS) website here.
For further information and guidance amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, do refer to official sources via gov.uk/coronavirus.
‘Warm Banks’ set up in Greater Manchester to help people who ‘cannot afford to put the heating on’
A council in Greater Manchester has confirmed plans to open ‘Warm Banks’, to help people keep warm this winter as energy bills skyrocket.
Oldham Council will be creating welcoming, heated, sheltered spaces for those who ‘cannot afford to put the heating on’.
The move will see places like libraries turned into Warm Banks as part of the council’s £3m plans to tackle the cost of living crisis.
In a statement, Cllr Amanda Chadderton, Leader of Oldham Council, said that schemes such as Warm Banks ‘should not be necessary in 2022’.
It’s hoped that the plans will particularly help vulnerable residents, such as the elderly and families with young children, through the colder months.
She said: “As part of our £3m commitment to tackle the cost of living, we’re setting up Warm Banks so that Oldham residents who are cold and cannot afford to put the heating on have a place where they can get warm.
“These should not be necessary in 2022, but the reality for many people is that the cost of energy is unaffordable and without support, they will be cold in their own homes. This is particularly worrisome for our vulnerable residents such as the elderly or families with young children.
“Our Warm Banks are places already open to the public, such as our libraries. We’ll be investing into these spaces over the coming weeks to make sure they’re as welcoming as they can be. We’ll also be working with our partners to identify places in the community that can be used as Warm Banks to ensure none of our residents are forced to be cold.
“As we approach the winter months and face another rise in our energy costs tomorrow with the October price cap increase, this situation is going to get worse for residents. But they’re not alone and as a council, we can help.
“Our team are on hand to help anyone who is already struggling with their energy costs. Through our Warm Homes Scheme, residents can access a range of support including claiming for Warm Homes Discount, help to switch energy suppliers or tariffs as well as ways to maximise your income to help make the basics more affordable.
“If you’re struggling, we can help. Please contact our emergency helpline on 0161 770 7777 and our staff will do everything they can to make things a little easier for you.”
Featured image: Oldham Council
Kwasi Kwarteng U-turns on plan to axe 45p tax rate for higher earners
Kwasi Kwarteng has U-turned on plans to scrap the 45p rate of income tax for the UK’s highest earners.
The sudden change of heart comes just 10 days after the Chancellor unveiled his mini Budget, which has led to 10 days of market turmoil and fierce pressure from within the Conservative party.
Just yesterday, Prime Minister Liz Truss insisted that the tax cut, which would benefit Brits earning more than £150,000, would go ahead.
Mr Kwarteng said that the proposals had ‘become a distraction’ in a statement released this morning.
Given that his Growth Plan has been labelled a ‘Kami-Kwase Budget’, that would seem to be an understatement.
“We get it, and we have listened,” he wrote.
His statement says: “From supporting British business to lowering the tax burden for the lowest paid, our Growth Plan sets out a new approach to build a more prosperous economy.
“However, it is clear that the abolition of the 45p tax rate has become a distraction from our overriding mission to tackle the challenges facing our country.
“As a result, I’m announcing we are not proceeding with the abolition of the 45p tax rate. We get it, and we have listened.
“This will allow us to focus on delivering the major parts of our growth package.
“First, our Energy Price Guarantee, which will support households and businesses with their energy bills. Second, cutting taxes to put money back in the pockets of 30 million hard-working people and grow our economy.
“Third, driving supply side reforms – including accelerating major infrastructure projects – to get Britain moving.”
Mr Kwarteng’s U-turn on the 45p tax cut policy has been described as ‘humiliating’ and comes on the second day of the Tory party conference in Birmingham.
Former Transport Secretary Grant Schapps said: “Strongly welcome today’s 45p tax reversal. Sensible & pragmatic.
“Conservatives want lower tax, but let’s show our energy price cap + other policies are on side of consumers rather than borrowing to cut high earner taxes first.”
Piers Morgan said: “Tories to U-turn on 45p tax rate cut. Humongous humiliation for @trussliz @KwasiKwarteng and worse possible start to their conference. She’ll have to sack him, surely?”