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News was announced yesterday that Greater Manchester will enter Tier 3 restrictions at the weekend.
Jane Imrie

“Genuine anger and distrust towards this government”: firms react to Tier 3 restrictions and government funding for Greater Manchester

News was announced yesterday that Greater Manchester will enter Tier 3 restrictions at the weekend.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed that a “generous” offer of financial support had been made to the region but that Mayor Andy Burnham had refused it.

Mr Burnham responded that he had not been offered enough to “protect the poorest people in our communities”.

Bdaily spoke with business leaders across the country to get their thoughts on the impending lockdown and its effect on the Greater Manchester region.

Michael Kill, CEO at Night Time Industries Association (NTIA)

“The announcement today of Greater Manchester going into Tier 3, deepens the crisis for the regions businesses, with growing concerns over the survival of the Hospitality and Night Time Economy sector.”

“We support Andy Burnham Mayor of Greater Manchester and the leaders of the major cities across the country in a call for further support from Government and a collaborative effort to save businesses and jobs within the sector. “

“Businesses and workers remain desperate and frustrated, it is clear that without a robust sector specific financial package of support under Tiers 2 & 3, we will see the sector collapse and the loss of over 754,000 jobs.”

“Restrictions levied against Night Time Economy businesses are disproportionate, and have no scientific foundation around measures being effective in suppressing the transmission of the virus within these environments.”

“Business owners, employees and freelancers within our sector are suffering, this will have a far reaching impact on the future of the industry.”

Chris Fletcher, policy director at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

“This news comes as a bitter blow to the whole of Greater Manchester (GM), its businesses and its residents. The huge difference from what has been given to what was needed seems a petty act of political sabotage on a regional economy by the government.

“There has been a concerted effort by everyone right across GM to make clear to [the] government why extra funding was a necessary factor to support a move to Tier3.

“GM has been in Tier 2 type measures since July and increasing numbers of businesses are struggling with dwindling cash reserves, the imminent ending of furlough and a huge drop off in sales.

“The fact that we have ended up in Tier 3 with just £22m and the PM confirmed that a business support package of £55m was removed will not only create concern but genuine anger and distrust towards this government.”

“It is vital that people follow the rules. The fact is that the virus must be brought under control however this will become increasingly challenging as the weeks progress if further funding isn’t brought forward and a more sensible and realistic approach taken by [the] government.”

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council

“It is deeply disappointing and frustrating that the Government has unilaterally imposed Tier 3 restrictions on Manchester and the city region without the agreement of local leaders.

“Our stance throughout these negotiations has been that while we recognise the need to get Covid-19 cases down, this has to factor in measures to protect the most vulnerable and balanced with doing all we can to protect the livelihoods of those who will be put out of work through pubs, bars and other licensed premises being forced to close.

“It simply isn’t equitable to treat one harm - Covid-19 infections - by harming thousands of people in the hospitality sector, many of them on minimum wage and driving them into poverty.

“We put forward a carefully costed and evidenced package of proposals which we felt would have been enough to enable us to address all these issues but in the end the Government rejected them, having failed to come up with any constructive alternatives.

“The people of Manchester have been let down but we will continue to press our case for the extra support they need. We stand ready to meet with the Government and engage in meaningful talks whenever they wish to do so.

“In the meantime, it is important that people in the city comply with the new regulations and follow local public health advice as we endeavour to further reduce infection rates - which are already on a downward trend - and get out of Tier 3.”

Anup Shah, partner at ReSolve and head of ReSolve’s Manchester operations

“Leaving the tangled politics aside, the imposition of Tier 3 restrictions will exert further pressure on an already embattled hospitality sector in Manchester.

“Pubs and bars which serve substantial meals will be able to remain open, although I expect that the restrictions on household mixing means that they will see a further drastic decrease in group custom. Pubs and bars which do not serve meals will have to close, plunging those business owners and employees into another bout of uncertainty.

“The business owners and entrepreneurs of the North West are nothing if not resilient and I have no doubt that many of them will find new and innovative ways to keep their businesses going during this trying time.

“But ultimately, the real problem is that there is no certain end date to the restrictions, making forward planning especially difficult. I would advise business owners to consider the current state will continue for the foreseeable future – six months and beyond.

“To survive these trying times they need to take a good look at their numbers, start exploring all their options and start making the hard decisions now – they should not wait until they are on the brink because the hard decisions will only become even more difficult to make.”

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