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Tory failure to support North with cash means Covid is ‘levelling down’ region, Burnham warns


Extra lockdown restrictions without extra financial support mean the North of England is being “levelled down” during the fight against the coronavirus, Andy Burnham has claimed.

Speaking at his weekly press conference the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham called for financial support from the Government for areas under extra restrictions – and highlighted the North/South divide.

But he also suggested that the increase in cases being seen across the North-West could be because the region was taken out of lockdown too early.

Across Greater Manchester enhanced restrictions are in place, banning people from socialising in each other’s homes and gardens.

In Bolton, pubs and restaurants have been ordered to remain closed.

Mr Burnham: “No council south of Solihull is under any form of restrictions.

“These restrictions in our case have been in place for a number of weeks, getting on for seven to eight now, and they are having an impact on people’s lives but also on people’s jobs and people’s businesses.

“There was not any compensatory support for many of those people announced yesterday and I think this is an unacceptable situation.

“We are being levelled down, not up, and this can’t continue, because if it does it will make the recovery so much harder in Greater Manchester.

“Restrictions must come with support and that has to be a principle that is firmly established before we go any much further forward.”

Mr Burnham also said that London-focussed politicians made London-focussed decisions, which could explain his region’s rising cases.

Repeating calls for leaders across the North to be given seats at COBRA meetings, he said: “Lockdown here was lifted too early.

“The decision was taken more with London in mind that the North West in mind, and now we have to live under these patchwork rules.

“More caution should have been taken.”


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