Thank you to constituents who have written to me about the recent changes to the coronavirus guidance.
On 2nd December, the second national lockdown ended and our area was put back into tier 3 restrictions: very high alert.
Details of what is and is not allowed under tier 3 restrictions can be found in the table below and at the Gov.uk website.
I supported the introduction of the 4-week national lockdown and I am pleased that we have seen a 30% reduction of infections across England during the lockdown.
I chose to abstain on Boris Johnson’s updated tier system put to the House of Commons on 1st December. I believe continued restrictions are necessary to prevent deaths, but, I am deeply disappointed in this Government’s handling of the situation. They have failed to deliver a functioning testing system, their public health messaging has been deeply confusing, and their economic support to our local businesses in Manchester is seriously lacking.
The government has particularly let down the North and Midlands by failing to control the virus. As a result, millions of people have gone months without social interaction with their friends or family, and thousands of businesses have been left without adequate support. I am well aware of the financial and emotional toll this is having on my constituents.
The government’s approach to supporting areas under local restrictions has been fundamentally unfair. My Labour colleagues and I have been calling on government to treat areas in the highest restrictions fairly and equally by extending the business support package for tier 3 areas. We need to see more from this government if they claim to be ‘levelling up’.
I have repeatedly raised my concerns about suitable support to protect businesses and livelihoods in Manchester, Gorton. Recently, I challenged the Chancellor on the current situation for a family in my constituency who run their own business and have received no financial support from the Government. It is shocking that the Chancellor is still refusing to help millions of people excluded from his support schemes, despite having had months to plug the gap and with many sectors and industries being left behind.
In some positive news, I am very glad to hear about the licensing of a vaccine. I know this news has been a huge relief to many. I want to see from the Government a) set out how and when the vaccine will be available to those who are most at risk in care homes and those unable to leave their homes; and b) ensure there is public confidence in the vaccine by countering vaccine dis-information, and introducing financial penalties for companies that fail to act.
Overall, it is vitally important that livelihoods and businesses are supported in Manchester, Gorton. I can assure you that I will continue to raise concerns and challenge the Government on these important issues.