Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham vows legal action against new Northern lockdown unless there's full furlough support

MANCHESTER Mayor Andy Burnham has vowed to take legal action against a new Northern lockdown unless there's full furlough support.

Northern leaders are furious at ministers for handing out punishing restrictions without giving additional help to businesses and Mr Burnham said he will not allow Manchester to be given even more lockdown measures.

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Mr Burnham blasted the Government on BBC Question Time last night: “I will not accept the government just imposing restrictions upon us, briefing them to newspapers late at night.

"They need to treat the people of the north of England with more respect.”

The Sun revealed that the PM is considering plans to close pubs and restaurants in Northern areas from next week, but politicians have lashed out against being handed measures without consultation.

Mr Burnham said: "If (the Government) come with restrictions without full support for the people and the businesses affected, I won’t support it.

"But actually more than that, I will challenge it.

"I will use whatever means I can to challenge it to get support for people because otherwise they are going to suffer real hardship this winter – we are going to see businesses failing."

Mr Burnham said he had threatened legal action over the A-levels, he was not afraid to take the Government to court if they refuse to work with local areas.

The PM's new plans to introduce a three-tiered response to local lockdowns, with the strictest rules requiring pubs and restaurants to close, and the most lax following the 10pm curfew and the rule of six, could cause even further hardship for businesses if there is no extra package of support.

Mr Burnham said people in the North of England were being treated with "contempt".

He added: "I didn't know about (the planned rules) they hadn't told me, but it doesn't really matter about me, what about the people who work in those pubs and those restaurants, for me this has just got to stop.

"We cannot face a national crisis with the Government just imposing decisions from the centre with no agreement with people who have to face the real world today."

Rishi Sunak is preparing to introduce a "local furlough" today to help businesses who have had to shut up shop because of drastic restrictions slapped on them.

But anything short of full support is unlikely to calm the anger from local leaders furious over the North-South divide over lockdown restrictions.

Liverpool's Labour mayor Steve Rotheram told Good Morning Britain today: "What we've seen is an ever-widening North-South divide in measures being taken. 

"Quite simply the North should not be a petri dish for experimentation by central government."

Local leaders are baffled by the criteria for introducing lockdown restrictions and the measure for how they will be lifted.

Nottingham has the highest case rate in England of 689.1 per 100,000, up from 112.3 cases per 100,000, but there are still no extra local restrictions.

Nottingham council leader David Mellen said delays on bringing in new rules were placing an "unnecessarily huge burden on local resources".

Chief government whip and Sherwood MP Mark Spencer told BBC Radio Nottingham there would be an announcement on new rules in Parliament "next week".

He defended the delay on new restrictions in Nottinghamshire, saying it would be subject to a vote.

He said: "It takes time to organise these rules and make sure they are enforceable and deliverable and they are at the right level.

"You can't just make a law up, you have to go through a process which is fairly long-winded to make sure you can deliver that.

"What is frustrating for lots of people is lots of people in society are making sacrifices and there is a very small group of people who are ignoring the common sense approach to this.

"They are mixing in households, they are acting inappropriately, drinking too much and not observing social distancing. And that is giving the rest of us a bit of a challenge."


But worrying increases in hospital admissions in parts of the north has caused fears over a new lockdown to hit fever pitch.

Leaked documents obtained by the Health Service Journal from Blackburn and Darwen Council said it was "extremely likely" hospital admissions will match the peak of the pandemic within 22 days.

Infections have soared in the area, and the leak states the outcome can't be stopped as so many people have already caught it.

It said: "It is reasonable to assume no impact can be made in the increasing trend in bed occupancy for at least the next two weeks, as these cases have already occurred.

"Even if a full lockdown was called tomorrow bed occupancy would continue to rise after the next two weeks as hospital beds fill quicker than they empty for Covid patients."

And Health Secretary Matt Hancock warned yesterday the UK hard reached a "perilous" moment in the fight against coronavirus.

In a grim message to an NHS providers conference he laid bare the grave situation the country now faces.

He added: "I am very worried about the growth in the number of cases, especially in the North West and the North East of England, parts of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and parts of Yorkshire."

 

 

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