Andy BurnhamImage copyright
Greater Manchester Combined Authority

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Andy Burnham said NHS Test and Trace will not work properly until the pay issue is addressed

People are not handing over names in the Test and Trace programme for fear of putting friends and family in a “really difficult position”, Greater Manchester’s mayor has suggested.

Andy Burnham said people were worried about taking 14 days off work if they would not be paid.

He called on the government to put a contact-tracing scheme in place that enables full pay while self-isolating.

The government said it is working closely with local authorities.

Mr Burnham told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme the contact-tracing system was “not good enough yet”.

He added a solution may be to treat the system as something “that’s akin to jury duty”.

When an employee receives a message from Test and Trace asking them to self-isolate, they should be able to do so on full pay, Mr Burnham said.

He added the average rate of names being provided “suggests to me that some people are not producing names because they know their wider group of friends and family would be put in a really difficult position”.

“A number of people in our poorer communities are finding it very, very hard to agree to a request to take 14 days off work when they know they won’t be paid, or worse, they will lose their job,” he said.

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PA Media

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New measures across parts of the north of England came in to force on 31 July after a rise in Covid-19 cases

The Department for Health and Social Care said “local action to tackle outbreaks is crucial”, adding it was working closely with local authorities, including Manchester, to provide additional support where needed.

New measures banning residents from visiting people’s homes and gardens in Greater Manchester, East Lancashire and parts of West Yorkshire came into force on 31 July.

Following the announcement, Mr Burnham was accused of pursing a “crude and ineffective strategy” across Greater Manchester in a letter from nine local Conservative MPs.

In his reply, Mr Burnham said it “was not my strategy but one taken by your government,” adding “it’s clear you all disagree with your own government but do not have the courage to say so”.

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