Labour to force Commons vote on Tier 3 restrictions funding tomorrow

20 October 2020, 23:24

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer wants to force a Commons vote on Covid restriction support
Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer wants to force a Commons vote on Covid restriction support. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Labour is planning to force a vote in the House of Commons on a "fair one nation deal" tomorrow after outrage over the support being offered to areas entering Tier 3 restrictions.

The party said it will urge its MPs to back its motion demanding the Government pay at least 80% of the salaries of people hit by forced business closures.

It follows a chaotic day for people in Greater Manchester, who will be placed under Tier 3 restrictions from midnight on Friday, and calls from Mayor Andy Burnham for parliament to intervene.

In a statement on Tuesday evening, Sir Keir said: "The Conservatives have been treating local communities, particularly in the Midlands, North West and North East, and their leaders with contempt.

"This is not just a matter of fairness for people in Greater Manchester, but for people across the country who could find themselves in Tier 3 in the weeks ahead.

Read more: Manchester moves to Tier 3 but Chancellor warns against national lockdown

Read more: Andy Burnham warns of ‘punishing’ winter and says No 10 walked away from talks

"Families and businesses will be deeply anxious that they might not be able to make ends meet under the Government's wholly inadequate proposals.

"The Prime Minister and the Chancellor need to make good on their commitment to the British people to do whatever it takes to help us through this pandemic.

"We need a fair one nation deal that can help us through the second wave.

"I would urge all Conservative MPs, particularly those in areas of the country that are most affected by this, to vote with us tomorrow and force the Government's hand."

Negotiations between leaders in Greater Manchester and Government officials broke down on Tuesday afternoon both sides failed to agree on a package of support for businesses and workers.

Mayor Andy Burnham accused ministers of trying to handle the pandemic "on the cheap" and warned his area faces a "punishing" Winter if the Government would not agree to a minimum of £65 million of support.

So far, the Government has only been willing to offer £60 million - proportionally equal to what the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire received - but Mayor Burnham and Labour are now both pushing for enough to fund at least 80% of wages.

Read more: Matt Hancock confirms £60m support offer for Greater Manchester still stands

Read more: UK records 241 coronavirus deaths in largest daily rise since early June

The party is also continuing to push for a two-week 'circuit break' national lockdown to help control the spread of the virus, but Chancellor Rishi Sunak told MPs today that it was cause "enormous damage" to the economy.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock said he knows that the local restrictions are another sacrifice in a "year full of sacrifices", but that the pandemic "requires all of us to make difficult decisions".

He said: "The path through a pandemic is never straightforward. It requires all of us to make difficult decisions and tough sacrifices and to get the virus under control.

"I know that these local restrictions are hard and they're another sacrifice in a year full of sacrifices.

"But we must not waver now, we must persevere as we've worked so hard on the long-term solutions that will see us through and come together once again."