Image credit: AJPC31, CC BY-SA 4.0 <https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0>, via Wikimedia Commons
Salford MP Graham Stringer has expressed his concern for local businesses with the prospect of Greater Manchester being placed in a Tier 3 lockdown over the coming days.
The Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton is one of several leaders from the region set to meet with the government for talks that could see the area moved into the highest level of COVID measures.
A shift to Tier 3 measures would include the closing of bars and pubs as well as a ban on mixing indoors and most outdoor spaces.
Speaking to presenter Simon McCoy on BBC News, Stringer insisted that he would not agree with the measures being implemented, even if the government offered financial assurances to local businesses.
“No, absolutely not. They can’t give that assurance, can they?
“They can say that ‘we can give you money to survive over the period of lockdown when we’re not letting you trade’ but, will the customers still be there at the end of it?
“There’s already been damage to the basic structure of the north west’s economy and particularly in the centre of Greater Manchester.”
Ahead of further discussions with the government this week over the regulations, Stringer said that under no circumstances does he want to see his areas placed under the highest restrictions.
“I hope that it’s more than an argument about money because I don’t want there to be any extension of the restrictions on people’s freedom for two reasons,” he said.
“First, I think the economy has taken a big hit and that means people will be out of work, there’ll be no money to pay for the not just the health services but public services.
“There’s also no real evidence that increasing restrictions is doing anything but kicking the can down the road.
“There should be effective local action in a public health area and we should keep public spaces open but where they’re not complying with social distancing, the police, local authorities and public health officials should have the power to immediately close a pub, a shop, a restaurant down if they’re not complying with the rules.”
Whilst speaking via video call on Monday afternoon, as well as discussing the economical affects that the government’s policies have had, the Labour MP also spoke about the impact they have had on the health industry.
“It’s absolutely clear that the government over the last six or seven months have put a lot of lives at risk because effectively, much of the health services has been switched off.
“The problem with the government’s policy, they’ve been ineffective in dealing with the COVID problem and they’ve made the rest of the health service worse.
“I think you have to address both of those issues directly and not pretend that carrying on with the same policies is going to get you a better result – it’s just going to make things worse in health terms as well as damaging the economy.”