Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has vowed to fight any restrictions imposed on the region that come with inadequate support.
Speaking on BBC’s Question Time on Thursday evening (9 October), the region’s leader appeared to be losing patience with the government after being kept in the dark at crucial points during the pandemic.
The Mayor said he had learned of the looming hospitality closures in northern England on the front page of a newspaper, and pledged to “challenge them in any way” he could if they did not come with necessary compensation.
“I didn’t know about [the measures], nobody told me,” Burnham said on the BBC programme.
“But it doesn’t really matter about me… what about the people who work in those pubs and restaurants?
“This has got to stop.
“We cannot face a national crisis with the government just imposing decisions from the centre with no agreement from the people who have to face the real world today – people saying: ‘We can’t go in another lockdown, our businesses will finish.'”
Burnham said he had attempted to establish a dialogue with Westminster regarding a local furlough scheme for hospitality workers – citing the example of Bolton whereby pubs and restaurants were banned from operating without financial aid to help them.
“The message I’ve given to the government is a pretty clear one: There can be no restrictions without support,” Burnham stated.
“If it’s going to be the Tier Three restrictions, effectively a national lockdown, we have to go back to a full furlough scheme for those staff [and] support for those businesses.”
The Mayor warned that the north of England was at risk of being “levelled down” by the new measures, are apparently set to bring about the full closure of pubs, restaurants and cafes.
“I will not accept it,” Burnham added.
“I will not accept restrictions without support.
“I will not accept the government just imposing restrictions these decisions upon us, briefing them to newspapers late at night. They need to treat the people of the north of England with more respect.”