AT one-minute past midnight on Friday, October 23 Greater Manchester was pushed into Tier 3 Covid restrictions.

Having been under the equivalent of Tier 2 restrictions since the end of July, the confusion and weariness that so many Oldhamers feel is palpable. But there is also the sense of anger and disbelief at the callous disregard that we have been shown by the government.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham and council leaders had been trying to negotiate the best possible deal for those workers and businesses that would be affected by Tier 3 restrictions, particularly those in the hospitality and leisure sectors.

But also, for workers who haven’t been able to access government support since March – many self-employed, freelancers, taxi drivers and others. Until Thursday all that the government had promised was two-thirds of their wages saying that Universal Credit would top this up to 80 per cent of salaries whilst knowing that three million taxpayers across the United Kingdom had been excluded from any government support since March.

The costed Greater Manchester business plan was to ensure all affected workers had their salaries topped up to 80 per cent. The plan reflected our workforce structure and business density and amounted to £15 million per month. For the government to suggest that each region affected by Covid should just get a crude per capita grant is disingenuous to the extreme.

But it does beg questions which a number of my constituents posed to me: Why wasn’t there a formula for calculating these business needs already set up? Why indeed. And why did 23 OECD countries have job subsidy arrangements in place for force majeure events including pandemics but not the UK government?

If the government is following the evidence, why did they ignore World Health Organisation guidance that the pre-requisite for lifting the lockdown in June was that we had a fully operational test, trace and isolate programme?

Why have they also ignored evidence that for local lockdowns to work a full financial support must be made available for people to self-isolate? And finally, why have they ignored the fact that without travel restrictions "seeding" will happen?

As part of the APPG on coronavirus’ inquiry we heard evidence this week that it took just two Covid positive foreign travellers visiting Iceland who failed to self-isolate, to cause a massive spike in cases in an otherwise Covid-free country. The virus will spread where people travel without strict travel restrictions.

The Chancellor’s last-minute announcement on Thursday to coincide with London being put into Tier 2 because of their escalating Covid cases, sticks in the craw. As I say, Oldham has been in Tier 2 since July – where was our help then? So much for levelling up.

Sadly, the government’s new financial package, less than a month since the last one, comes too late for many Oldham businesses and their workers.

This incompetent government must recognise that they can’t do pandemic management on the cheap. We are at war with this virus and the government needs to get on a war footing.