Newly-formed campaign group UnitedCity has installed billboards across the city today to bring awareness to its calls for weekly tiered restrictions reviews.
The large festive-themed billboards – which have been spotted at a number of locations across Manchester city centre, including the Printworks, Manchester Piccadilly Station, and City Tower – are branded with the words: “All Mancs want for Christmas is two… (Tier 2)”, alongside the UnitedCity logo.
The billboards form part of a wider campaign which sees the group “calling on the government to review the region’s tier allocation weekly, rather than fortnightly”.
Group members believe “the data simply does not support [Greater Manchester] being in Tier 3”.
UnitedCity is aiming to “bring the vibrancy back to Manchester”, and the collective of business leaders want to encourage people to return safely to towns and the city centre.
The group – which is founded by Gary Neville of Relentless Group, Chris Oglesby of Bruntwood, Lisa Morton of Roland Dransfield PR, Will Lewis of OBI and Frank McKenna of Downtown in Business – says increasing footfall is “critical to the success” of the entire region, and will campaign to get Greater Manchester on the road to economic recovery.
It is aiming to fix Manchester’s “broken ecosystem”, and also commission independent research to back up its messages, with hard data and use findings to negotiate with central government.
The group hopes to get the region “back on its feet” and back to supporting retail, leisure, culture, and sports businesses, as well as provide support and advice for business owners to make sure workforces are welcomed back safely.
Raising funds for vulnerable citizens is also included in the plans.
United City‘s strategy plans – which looks to creating COVID-secure environments – include input from the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Manchester City Council, and its privately-funded research will help to bridge the gap by providing clear data to manage safety in workplaces, hospitality venues and on transport.
The research will also allow Greater Manchester leaders to negotiate with the government on local lockdown restrictions and navigate their own way out of them.
The calls for weekly restrictions reviews are believed to be part of the latter-mentioned plans.
Speaking on the launch of UnitedCity last month, Gary Neville – Founder and Director of Relentless Group – said: “Manchester is built on community and entrepreneurial spirit [and] it’s imperative that this crisis doesn’t remove that from our DNA [so] United City will create a clear path forward for the region and will help to effect genuine change for the people and businesses that are based here.
“To make this happen, we need as much support from the business community as possible.
“We are looking for business leaders to step up and lead the change to our working habits, to get our teams back into the office, and back together again.”
You can find out more about the UnitedCity campaign and objectives here.
‘Significant risk’ of UK gas shortages this winter, regulator warns
Energy regulator Ofgem has warned that the UK faces a ‘significant risk’ of gas shortages this winter.
According to reports in The Times, the regulator has unveiled concerns that the country could face blackouts over the coming months thanks to an undersupply of gas to Europe caused by Russia’s war with Ukraine.
Warning that a “gas supply emergency” could be looming ahead, the energy regulator has said that some gas-fired power plants could see their supplies cut off, which in turn would stop generators from producing electricity.
The alert comes just days before an expected update from the National Grid on the likelihood of countrywide power cuts this winter.
Responsing to arequest from SSE, which owns several gas power stations, Ofgem outlined what is set to be a huge issue of concern given that the UK relies on large gas plants to produce the biggest share of its electricity supply.
The regulator also pointed to rules that could see power plants penalised as a result of shortages, warning of a worst-case scenario that would see the “potential insolvency of gas-fired generators” caused by rules that require plants to pay huge charges if they fail to deliver on promised quotas.
Adding that the issue must be addressed to prevent a “significant impact on the safety and security of the electricity and/or gas systems”, the regulator echoed concerns now widespread in Europe as its comments followed a similar statement made by the International Energy Agency (IEA) this morning.
Europeans are already being told they must lower their thermostats and boilers in preparation in case gas supplies are cut off, with Paris-based agency IEA warning today that the EU must focus on getting underground gas reserve levels to 90% of capacity in case of a complete Russian supply shut-off.
Preparation are already being made in Europe with the German government having approved a set of energy-saving measures for the winter to limit use in public buildings. In France, meanwhile, companies have already been warned they may face energy rationing this winter.
Whilst the UK government is yet to announce any energey saving measures, Ofgem has said that it expect s“this winter to be more challenging than last year” and that it is taking “reasonable regulatory steps to mitigate and reduce the risks”.