Legal challenge launched against Manchester restrictions

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Legal challenge launched against Manchester Tier 3 lockdown restrictions Sacha Lord

Related tags Greater manchester Night time economy Legal challenge Coronavirus lockdown

Sacha Lord, the night time economy adviser for Greater Manchester, has commenced a Judicial Review into the legality of implementing emergency restrictions on the region’s hospitality sector without scientific evidence.

Led by Sam Karim QC, Sarah Clover and Leo Charalambides of Kings Chambers instructed by Oliver Wright of JMW, a pre-action letter has been filed, in relation to a proposed challenge to the reclassification of Greater Manchester from Tier 2 to Tier 3 in accordance with the Health Protection Regulations 2020.

Under Tier 3, the majority of pubs and bars will be ordered to close and social mixing between households will be banned indoors and outdoors.

However, restaurants and any pubs or bars that are able to 'operate as if they were a restaurant' and serve 'substantial' meals will be allowed to remain open.

According to real estate adviser Altus Group, the decision will affect 1,809 pubs in Greater Manchester.

Sacha Lord said the new lockdown would 'recklessly destroy' the city's night time economy.

He said: “I am heartbroken that pubs and bars across Greater Manchester will now be forced to close without any evidence that this will bring transmissions down.

“These same operators have worked tirelessly to abide by Government rules from the outset. They have accepted quick-fire lockdowns and spent thousands implementing the Government’s own recommended Covid-secure measures.

“This recent move will not only cause severe mental anguish and devastate the livelihoods of the operators themselves, but will severely affect the wider night time ecology.

"Taxi drivers, suppliers, performers, musicians and countless freelancers will all now face terrible hardship without any rationale, as will restaurants who will see trade drop off extensively.”

Earlier this week, Greater Manchester became the first region in the UK to have Tier 3 restrictions forced upon it​, after talks between Westminster and local leaders on a financial support package ended dramatically without a deal reached.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham said he was demanding £65m in financial support as a 'bare minimum' to top up the furlough pay of workers whose businesses are shutdown as a result of the lockdown.

He accused the Government of 'walking away' from the talks having had its offer of giving the region's leaders £60m rejected.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed yesterday (21 October) that the £60m originally offered will be distributed across the region anyway.

Burnham told ITV News he had 'no regrets' for taking a stand.

"This wasn't a negotiation, this was basically bulldozed through and we took a stand," he said.

"So no regrets for taking that stand because the point is they were imposing an arbitrary formula one-by-one on places."

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