Interestingly, government ministers want to tighten the rules in Greater Manchester against the will of local leaders. But in London, it is the mayor, Sadiq Khan, who is pushing for tighter restrictions, the central government apparently less inclined.
Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, and leaders of councils in his region are resisting the move to level 3 not because they do not accept the need to contain the Covid outbreak, but because they believe in the package support available for businesses and workers. affected is inadequate. And this morning they received powerful support from Lady Louise Casey, the former senior civil servant who has held a range of important social protection roles under every Prime Minister since Tony Blair. Restless sleep, antisocial behavior, troubled families – she has been a “czar” for just about everything. Today, in an interview with the BBC, Casey says the UK is facing an unprecedented spike in ‘destitution’ because there is insufficient support available to those affected by local restrictions. In an interview with the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg, she said:
We envision a period of destitution. I cannot convince you enough that I believe we are heading into an unprecedented period. We are already there and it will get worse. And it needs a more cross-cutting intergovernmental response.
Do we want to go back to the days when people couldn’t put shoes on children? Are we really asking people in places like Liverpool to go out and prostitute themselves, so they can put food on the table?
I am not a dramatic person. I have been in Whitehall for over 20 years working in the voluntary sector. And it’s unprecedented. I remember the Thatcher days until now and have never worked in a situation where I’m so concerned about what’s going to happen.
Here is the agenda for the day.
9h30: Helen Whately, Minister of Health, holds a private briefing with MPs in London. Later at 10:15 am Jo Churchill, another health minister, holds a briefing with MPs from Lancashire and at 10:45 am Whately holds a briefing with MPs from Greater Manchester. Andy Burnham, the mayor of Greater Manchester, is also expected to have a call with No.10. All of these calls take place before Matt Hancock’s statement later.
9h30: The ONS publishes its regular report on the coronavirus and the economy.
11am: The UK government is due to release its latest testing and tracing statistics.
Around 11:30 am: Health Secretary Matt Hancock made a statement to MPs, with Greater Manchester and Lancashire likely to be added to the Very High Alert Level 3 meaning they would be subject to greater restrictions and that London will likely be displaced from the average change. level 1 to high alert level 2.
12h20: Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister, makes a virtual statement in the Scottish parliament on the coronavirus.
14h15: Simon Case, the new cabinet secretary, testifies before the Commons Committee on Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs.
Politics Live has become the UK coronavirus live blog for some time and, given how the Covid crisis overshadows everything, this will continue for the foreseeable future. But we’ll also be covering non-Covid political stories.
Here is our live blog on the global coronavirus.
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