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Private sector group representing 150 businesses across Greater Manchester calls for rapid pavement licensing scheme and ‘CovidPass’ ahead of Government announcement

UnitedCity – the private sector campaigning and research group set up by business leaders in Greater Manchester – has created a manifesto outlining steps it believes the Government should take to facilitate a ‘safe recovery’, ahead of the expected roadmap announcement on 22 February.

The group, which represents 150 businesses across the city region, has suggested that the Government focus its efforts regionally, delivering a bespoke rather than blanket approach to recovery – and consider the creation of a ‘CovidPass’ that will bring together an individual’s vaccination and testing information, giving people confidence to return to their normal lives and allow more large-scale events to be held in the city.

Speaking ahead of the announcement, UnitedCity said:

“The current national mood would suggest that this lockdown has mentally been a lot more challenging for people than previous lockdowns and restrictions have been.

“As such, the Government needs to bring a sense of confidence, clarity and calm to Monday’s announcement, and take this opportunity to offer a concrete vision for how ‘normality’ can safely start to return. Placing the country back into the unclear and ineffective tiering system would be a step backwards, and could potentially spark panic and further fatigue. People now need to see and feel a light at the end of the tunnel, as we approach nearly 12 months of the pandemic disrupting our lives and livelihoods.

“We would suggest that the Government work with businesses on a COVID-secure plan to reopen the economy with world-class mass-testing and track and trace systems, supporting the incredible vaccination effort already rolled out across the country. The progress made recently with the vaccination programme has given a hopeful outlook for the coming months, and it is now up to the Government to use this momentum and optimism as a springboard to recovery – providing a clear and definitive roadmap for reopening on February 22, including opening hospitality and returning to the workplace in a safe and controlled way.

“UnitedCity has created a manifesto which sets out the necessary measures we believe the Government, local leadership, and health and care bodies need to deliver on to enable a viable recovery. These include stimulus cheques for people who have had to self-isolate and lose income; an extension to VAT payment holidays; and more.

“For a city to successfully emerge from COVID, with its complex and interconnected communities and economy, it needs more than central government plans.  It needs a dynamic partnership between local business, local public and voluntary sector leaders, and national Government.  We want to work with the Government to bring that to life in Manchester.

“Locally, we would ask for everyone in Manchester to play their part and do their bit responsibly, to enable us to open up in a gradual but consistent way. Our city region has been in lockdown or under stricter restrictions for 302 of the last 365 days, which has been undeniably tough. If we work together, galvanised by strong, encouraging leadership, Manchester can hopefully enjoy the safe summer it richly deserves.”

The full manifesto can be accessed here

Formed in November 2020, UnitedCity delivers campaigns and research to support Manchester’s safe economic recovery, both during and in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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