The Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has released a statement this morning regarding government discussions over potential Tier 3 reclassifications.
Mr Burnham, together with the leaders of all 10 councils in Greater Manchester and Deputy Mayor Baroness Bev Hughes have announced that they have a unified position on the government’s announcement introducing tiers of restrictions.
In the joint statement published on the GMCA website, Mr Burnham and the authorities said: “We are clear: the health of the people in the city-region is paramount and our primary focus continues to be on driving down the rates of COVID-19 infection.
“Back in July, we took the difficult decision to agree with the government’s request for additional restrictions [and since then] our communities have been living with this patiently for months now, with no indoor mixing between households, and some of our businesses remaining shut for longer than in the rest of England.
“We are also clear that, alongside managing the virus, we need to protect people’s jobs and businesses [and] we will not let Greater Manchester be levelled down by this pandemic and the response to it.
“We agree with the principle of having tiers of restrictions to provide simpler messages for our communities and for enforcement actions [as] this is better than a patchwork of restrictions that vary from council area to council area which are often in conflict with national messages.”
The statement continues: “We wrote to the government over the weekend putting forward a strong set of proposals for Greater Manchester building on Tier 2 with additional measures which will protect public health and maintain economic activity,”
“We have not yet had a substantive response to our letter [and] we do not believe we should be put into Tier 3 for two reasons.
“First, the evidence does not currently support it.
“The rate of COVID-19 infection in Greater Manchester is much lower, at 357.6 cases per 100,000, compared to Liverpool City Region which is in Tier 3 at 488.0 cases per 100,000. Plus, our hospital admission rate is much lower than in LCR as Deputy CMO, Jonathan Van Tam, highlighted in his press conference this week. Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 7-day rolling average Covid patients in beds is at around the 225 mark and in Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust it’s at the 100 mark.
“Second, the financial package accompanying Tier 3 is nowhere near sufficient to prevent severe hardship, widespread job losses and business failure.
“At the Prime Minister’s press conference on Monday, the Chief Medical Officer said that Tier 3 measures would only limit the spread if they included much more widespread business closures than the baseline of pubs. However, the Government has not put in a place an economic package to support this level of business closure.
“For that reason, we believe the Tier 3 proposal is fundamentally flawed [and] the Government is placing councils in an invidious position,”
“We therefore reject the Government’s current drive to pile pressure on places to enter Tier 3.”
It was also revealed that a number of leaders in Greater Manchester support for calls of a “national circuit break” lockdown.
The statement continued: “If the government pursues its current strategy, we believe it will leave large parts of the North of England trapped in Tier 3 for much of the winter with all the damage that will do.
“If cases continue to rise as predicted, and the government continues to refuse to provide the substantial economic support that Tier 3 areas will need, then a number of Leaders in Greater Manchester believe a national circuit break, with the required financial support would be a preferable option.”
The statement closes out with Mr Burnham and the authorities saying they “would welcome the opportunity to have a serious discussion with the government about these important issues.” and once again re-emphasising that: “All of this should be underpinned by a full financial package to support delivery [which] includes a furlough scheme of at least 80% of wages offered to all businesses forced to close or severely affected and suffering a serious loss of trade due to restrictions.”
It continues: “We await keenly the promised engagement and dialogue with government and stand ready to work with government to ensure we have the right measures in place in Greater Manchester with the powers and funding we need to make the restrictions work.”
You can read the statement in full via the GMCA website here.
Police search for Moors murder victim Keith Bennett resumes as ‘skull is found’
Police are back searching for Moors Murder victim Keith Bennett after a skull was reportedly found.
12-year-old Keith was snatched by notorious serial killers Ian Brady and Myra Hindley in 1964.
The pair’s victims were five children, Pauline Reade, John Kilbride, Keith Bennett, Lesley Ann Downey and Edward Evans, all aged between 10 and 17 years old at the time of their murder.
The victims were buried on Saddleworth Moor, but Keith’s remains have never been found.
Now a major breakthrough may have come from an author, Russell Edwards, who alerted police to ‘potential human remains in a remote location’.
Specialist GMP officers have now begun initial exploration activity but say it is ‘far too early’ to confirm if human remains have been discovered.
Officers have also updated Keith’s brother Alan Bennett, who was just eight years old when his sibling vanished and who has dedicated much of his life to solving the mystery of the missing body.
MP Force Review Officer Martin Bottomley said: “At around 11.25am on Thursday 29 September 2022, Greater Manchester Police was contacted by the representative of an author who has been researching the murder of Keith Bennett, a victim of Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.
“Following direct contact with the author, we were informed that he had discovered what he believes are potential human remains in a remote location on the Moors and he agreed to meet with officers yesterday afternoon to elaborate on his find and direct us to a site of interest.
“The site was assessed late last night and, this morning, specialist officers have begun initial exploration activity. We are in the very early stages of assessing the information which has been brought to our attention but have made the decision to act on it in line with a normal response to a report of this kind.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been discovered and this is expected to take some time.
“We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family. As such, we have informed his brother of the potential development – he does not wish to be contacted at this time and asks that his privacy is respected.”
A further GMP statement published by the Manchester Evening Newsadded: “We have always said that GMP would act on any significant information which may lead to the recovery of Keith and reunite him with his family.
“Officers met with Mr Edwards yesterday evening (29th September) and he was able to locate a site of interest and provide us with further details of the work he has been carrying out.
“We are at the very early stages of assessing the evidence which he brought to our attention, but have taken the decision to excavate an area of land with a view to determining what lies there.
“It is far too early to be certain whether human remains have been uncovered, but out of respect for Alan Bennett, who we regularly maintain contact with, we have informed him of this potential development.
“Alan does not wish to be disturbed at this time and we would ask that his request for privacy is respected.”
Featured image: GMP
Question Time audience stunned as first-time buyer says mortgage quote DOUBLED
Thursday night’s Question Time audience could be heard audibly gasping after a fellow crowd member revealed that her mortgage quote had doubled followed the recent mini-budget.
Taping in Manchester on 29 September, the current events and politics programme was discussing property when would-be first-time buyer Rabia revealed that her mortgage offer had jumped from an initial amount of 4.5% interest to a shocking 10.5% in just a matter of days.
As you can see in the incredible clip, both the audience and the panel are taken aback at the revelation.
The Greater Manchester resident said she is desperate to know what the government’s plan for mortgages is as following the latest revision, she says she simply cannot afford to put the money down on her first home.
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer weighed in on the social media reaction, quote tweeting the clip from his party’s own account and stating that “the Tories must get back to Parliament and reverse their kamikaze budget” as the current economic mess is being “paid for by working people”.
To make matters worse, Rabia was given no clarification from her lenders, only that they were pulling her offers. Conservative MP and Minister for Local Government, Faith and Communities, Paul Scully had little information to offer her either, simply stating it is a short-term effect and that the market will stabilise.
Scully was subject to an entirely different reaction from the audience as well after his blind attempts to defend Prime Minister Liz Truss and Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng were met with laughter. Conversely, Richard Bacon was met with applause after he labelled the mini-budget “absurd”.
As if the anti-Tory sentiment wasn’t already at a high, the chancellor’s mini-budget – which saw the corporations, bankers and the generally wealthy benefit ahead of the working class – has seen fresh calls for a general election to be held as soon as possible.
Beyond declaring a so-called £2,500 limit on energy bills (which many have warned isn’t a guaranteed cap), there was seemingly very little in the way of policy that
For those still unclear as to what was announced in the divisive mini-budget, here is a quick summary:
Speaking in a speech at the Labour conference in Liverpool on Tuesday, Starmer said that the government “haven’t just failed to fix the roof, they’ve ripped out the foundations, smashed the windows and now they’ve blown the doors off for good measure.