Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr David Greenhalgh, commented “Following a meeting earlier today, a statement has been released on behalf of GM Leaders which confirms our commitment to opposing the imposition of Tier 3 which I believe would inevitably have a negative impact on our local economy, jobs and livelihoods.
“We have also asked for additional financial help for those businesses effected. I want to say that I am proud of the way Government responded in March to the way they supported businesses when lockdown was introduced. It wasn't perfect but it showed a commitment to help and support, but Government now needs to realise that if similar help is not now replicated, businesses in boroughs like Bolton will go under and that money will have been wasted.
“And it should be acknowledged that Greater Manchester has been disproportionately affected suffering over 3 months of lockdown measures, and in particular in Bolton, with 3 weeks of complete hospitality closure, so I genuinely believe our businesses begin from a lower threshold in terms of being able to survive further lockdown restrictions.
“I also have grave concerns that the closure of hospitality will lead to gatherings taking place in far more unregulated settings. My experience has been that the vast majority of our hospitality sector has gone out of its way to make their premises safe environments for their customers, and for those that don’t, we need those powers which have been promised, to close down those establishments immediately.
“I want to reiterate the position myself and the administration have, that a balance must be found whereby there is compliance to restrictions, those most vulnerable to the virus are protected, but where our businesses are allowed to remain open, accompanied with stronger and tighter enforcement.
“And for any avoidance of doubt, let me make it very clear that myself and the administration are opposed to any form of circuit break or national lockdown at this time.
“I will continue to speak out, my administration's duty first and foremost is to the residents and businesses of this town, Tier 3 we do believe in its present form is not the answer, but I hope to still engage with other leaders and Government in meaningful dialogue over the forthcoming days, and do this in the knowledge that we have the full support of Greater Manchester MPs, of which 9 are Conservative MPs, including Chris Green and Mark Logan MP.
“And above all, I genuinely hope that local voices will be listened to."