Preston Council leader accuses Government of 'incompetence'

Preston City Council leader Matthew Brown has accused the Government of incompetence as a new national lockdown was announced.

Coun Matthew Brown
Coun Matthew Brown

Labour had called for a "circuit breaker" lockdown weeks ago - which was dismissed at the time by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Now the Tory Government has announced a month-long lockdown starting on Thursday, with the furlough scheme extended.

Labour Coun Brown and other Northern politicians are angry that 80 per cent wages were not on the table recently when Lancashire was placed into Tier 3 restrictions.

Now after days of speculation a second national lockdown has been introduced.

Coun Brown said on Twitter : "This isn't the 2nd or 3rd U-turn, it is the 23rd!

"We have a mixture of incompetence combined with ignoring local and national public health advice, lack of an effective infrastructure and an outsourced test and trace shambles.

"Hardly a winning combination"

Coun Brown added after the furlough announcement: "This is good news but I can't understand what the hullabaloo was just a couple of weeks ago when we demanded it for Lancashire."

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Coun Brown said recently he had held out "until the bitter end" for that level of support to be provided to Lancashire – and boycotted a meeting with the Prime Minister where the deal was finally done.

The council leader has called for a locally-led, coordinated approach to testing and track and trace, engaging partners across the public sector, including all tiers of government and the NHS.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was also enraged that more money could be found now after his area's demands were rejected by the Government recently.

He tweeted details of the furlough scheme and added:" So why were low-paid workers in the North only worth 67%? The sheer injustice of it."

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Responding to a tweet by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, Mr Burnham said: “But when we asked you to do that for the lowest-paid people in the North, you refused. People here will remember that.”

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