Judicial review launched into Greater Manchester restrictions

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Greater manchester Manchester London Legislation Health and safety lockdown

Greater Manchester’s night czar has initiated a judicial review into the legality of restrictions imposed on the city region's pubs and bars.

Night-time economy adviser Sacha Lord has claimed that the decision to impose the strictest coronavirus measures on Greater Manchester was made without scientific evidence.

The city region was moved to ‘very high’ alert level this week, alongside Liverpool and Lancashire, meaning the closure of its pubs.

Talks on financial support for businesses affected also broke down, with local leaders slamming the Government for not doing enough to prevent job losses and business failures.

The legal action will be led by Sam Karim QC, Sarah Clover and Leo Charalambides of Kings Chambers instructed by Oliver Wright of JMW.

Sacha Lord said he understood the public health need of restrictions but fair financial support was vital “for those most severely affected and at risk of poverty.”

“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,” he added.

Lack of evidence

Lord said he was yet to see “any clear, tangible” evidence to justify the closure of hospitality.

Public Health England data found hospitality venues were linked to just 3% of coronavirus transmissions in the past week.

Closing pubs has made it “inevitable” there will be an increase in people socialising in private homes, environments prone to coronavirus transmission, Lord added.

“It is my belief that this new lockdown will recklessly destroy our night time economy," he said.

“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.”

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