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Coronavirus live news: England's northern leaders say they do not support finanancial package; India reports 73,000 new cases






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Andy Burnham says he would consider a legal challenge to the package if the political challenge fails.


We do not agree nor do we accept the financial package…. [We are] Asking our MPs across the north to bring about situation next week where parliament can express its view on whether this package … is fair. If this fails, I wouldn’t rule out a legal challenge. It’s that serious.

Why do we accept hospitality workers are somehow second-class citizens? I don’t accept it. This goes to the heart of everything we care about. The north of England is staring the most dangerous winter for years right in the face.

Addressing constituents, he adds: “We will do whatever is in our power … to fight your corner.”

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The metro mayor of the North of Tyne Combined Authority, Jamie Driscoll, says: “You have to make obeying the restrictions financially viable for people … The financial support is part of keeping people safe.”

Dan Jarvis adds this will be the hardest NHS winter on record, and he urged the government to decentralise its policy and focus on local responses, as in other countries. “Rather than partners [with the govt], feels like we’re passengers,” he says.

On the 10pm curfew, Burnham says it is “potentially contradictory” because it can effectively create social gatherings in the home.

“Let’s be clear about what we’re asking public to do and give them the evidence to do this,” he adds, saying much stronger enforcement powers are actually what’s required, such as closure powers for premises that are not Covid-secure.

If you present evidence, “public buy-in will follow”, he says. “If government get this right in the next few days, local and national government could be brought together.”

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Burnham jumps in and says for people working in hospitality, the case has to made for 100% income coverage, because any less takes them under minimum wage. How is that legal, he asks? The absolute minimum has to be 80%

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When asked what the timescale was to get support packages to the 80% level seen in March, Jarvis said: “As others have referred to, negotiations continue over weekend.”

He anticipates a statement in parliament from the prime minister on Monday, but it was not clear precisely what the timeframe would be thereafter, but talks would continue to secure the “best possible deal wecan”.

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Dan Jarvis, the Labour MP and Sheffield mayor, described the government response as a “top-down overly centralised approach that has not been as effective as it has been”.

He said “frustrations bubbled over this week” when the government briefed journalists but did not consult local political leaders. “We are part of the solution and need to be involved at an early point in the government decision-making process.”

He said he agrees with others that economic packages “won’t go nearly far enough” and said large portions of business community would be “struggling to survive”.

He added:


“Of course the government is under a huge amount of pressure … but what I think is very important is they don’t lose sight of is the medium and long-term commitment they’ve made.

[There is a] very serious risk that instead of levelling up, Covid will cause levelling down.

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Liverpool to go into tier 3 lockdown on Wednesday.

Steve Rotheram, the mayor of the Liverpool metro region, said the government would announce on Monday that the city will go into tier 3 lockdown on Wednesday.

He said:


Most journalists will understand our incredulity and dismay at having to have a press conference.

Our priority has … we will support measures no matter how politically difficult they might be to support our residents.

He added the government is “refusing the scientific rationale” behind the decisions and people in their areas are “very confused”.

Rotheram said he learnt about the city is going into a higher tier from national newspapers.

The government intends to lay measures out on Monday that Liverpool will go into Tter 3 on Wednesday, Rotheram said. “They’re trying to work out what this is, they’ll meet with government today.”

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‘We hope MPs reject government’s financial package,’ says Burnham

Burnham is writing to all MPs in the north of England about how the government has handled rising coronavirus cases.

He said:


What we’re asking our MP colleagues to do is to support what we’re saying and their constituents who will be plunged into hardship by these measures…

We are calling on MPs to ask for a separate vote and debate on this financial package [so they can be] fully understood.

We would hope they would reject this package and force government to return with a package which addresses all of the points we’ve just made.

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Burnham estimates there are 100,000 people in Greater Manchester still on the furlough scheme.

He said:


We think it would be to do long-term damage of Greater Manchester and the north of England and weaken recovery because organisations we depend upon for recovery, like Manchester airport, won’t be in a position to recover.

That amounts to the precise opposite of what this government was elected to do, will level down and worsen the north-south divide.

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Burnham warned that current support for businesses does not go far enough.

He said:


We are being told the government will double current payment from £1,500 to £3,000 a month for businesses locked down a month but I’m pretty certain that will not be enough to save businesses in Greater Manchester who are on a knife edge.

He also condemned the lack of support for self employed and said the government is asking them “to accept the measures” would be to “render our businesses to failure and collapse” and lead to a rise in redundancy.

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I’ll be liveblogging the press conference from the Greater Manchester mayor, Andy Burnham.

Burnham has described the two thirds wages package from the chancellor is “insufficient”.

He said:


If you work in a bar or kitchen in a pub, on possibly living wage more likely, how is it possible to live on two-third wages when government forced your place of work to close.

You can’t chose to pay two thirds of rent or bills, it would put them into severe hardship.

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