• Committee will coordinate response between statutory agencies, private and voluntary sector
  • Mayor outlines action already being taken at Greater Manchester level
  • Mayor to advocate the Greater Manchester voice to Government on local societal and economic impact

 The Mayor of Greater Manchester convened the first multi-agency Greater Manchester Covid-19 meeting on 18 March 2020 to oversee the implementation and coordination of the response across the city-region to support people and business. The members are made up of representatives from each of the ten districts, health, fire, police, private sector and voluntary sector.

The Committee will meet on a weekly basis every Wednesday at 11am with a press conference at 2pm.

The Committee will provide the Mayor and wider leadership of Greater Manchester with a city-region perspective on the societal and economic impact of the Covid-19 crisis and will allow the Mayor to advocate the needs of Greater Manchester at national government level.

The Committee will be identifying what activity is happening locally, where the gaps are, can the gaps be filled at Greater Manchester level and what gaps government needs to fill.

Mayor Andy Burnham said: "This is a worrying time for everyone in Greater Manchester and I want to do all I can to reassure people about the response locally and city-region wide to help them. That’s why today I held my first multi-agency Greater Manchester Covid-19 Committee to coordinate support people and business need in the best way we can.”

At his press conference, the Mayor announced action already being taken to address gaps. These include:

Health

Sir Richard Leese, Deputy Mayor of Greater Manchester and Leader of Manchester City Council, will be the portfolio lead on health and social care. He will work with the sector to understand their needs and raise concerns in relevant forums.

Business

The Greater Manchester Growth Company has a dedicated website with information and advice for business (opens new page) during the Covid-19 crisis, including a webinar series.

Last week, the Growth Company convened a meeting with the Mayor, the Confederation of British Industry, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce, the Institute of Chartered Accountants England and Wales, the Institute of Directors, MadeUK, the North West Business Leadership Team, Pro-Manchester and the Manchester Hoteliers Association to listen to their concerns and find out what support the sector needs.

The Growth Company will be analysing how the recent government Covid-19 budget announcement will help local business and will provide information on how to access that support. They will also be launching a 24-hour hotline to help business.

Support for people who need it

A new website has been launched for support for people who need it (opens new page). Many people already give their time freely to help others and in the current circumstances, that support is needed more than ever to those who are most vulnerable. The website provides information on how people can volunteer across each of the ten districts by linking them to local volunteering opportunities.

Over the coming days, the website will also provide information on supporting vulnerable people with essential services. In particular, the Mayor is working with the ten districts and other providers to secure arrangements to ensure that essential services (water, electric, gas) are maintained for all vulnerable residents in Greater Manchester for the duration of crisis.

The A Bed Every Night scheme for rough sleepers will continue to operate as normal  and the Mayor is working with agencies to ensure that services are maintained and enhanced where appropriate for this most vulnerable group in Greater Manchester, including those who need to self-isolate with new isolation provision.

In the first instance if anyone has concerns about any individual in Greater Manchester not receiving these basic services they should contact their local authority. We are considering how people can access a central point of contact for help.

We’re also coming to an agreement with the FBU and GMFRS to provide Safe and Well telephone calls to anyone who need it to advise them on how to be safe from a fire at home and know how to escape safely if a fire starts. GMFRS will also make phone calls to vulnerable people which may identify the need for support and assistance which will then be passed on to local authorities and networks to respond.

Gaps

At the press conference, the Mayor highlighted a number of concerns coming from members of the Committee.

  • Cashflow – there are significant concerns from business and local authorities about cashflow and the need for government to urgently release it at local level
  • PPE – personal protective equipment needs to be made available for frontline workers beyond the health service e.g. police and care workers.
  • Testing – the screening programme should be suspended so more Covid-19 testing can be carried out with a priority for key workers and people who are sleeping rough.
  • Schools – the current situation is unsustainable and they need to close by the end of this week, with provision made for children of key workers.
  • Help for individuals – more help, advice, information and support is needed for people with disabilities and their families and carers, for low paid workers and for people who rent.

Next steps

The Mayor will continue to engage with Committee members, business and communities most affected by Covid-19.

The next Committee meeting will be 25 March 2020.


Article Published: 19/03/2020 18:09 PM