politics

Scottish Government lifts controversial ban on travel to Manchester and Salford


A controversial ban on non-essential travel between Scotland and parts of the North West will be lifted on Tuesday night.

The Scottish Government sparked a furious row with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham when it banned people from making trips between Scotland and Manchester, Salford and Bolton in his region on June 21.

The travel restrictions on Manchester, Salford and Bolton will now come to an end on Tuesday night, Scottish Health Secretary Humza Yousaf confirmed.

However ban will remain in place on travel to Blackburn with Darwen in Lancashire for at least another week.

Mr Yousaf said: “Nobody wants travel restrictions in place for any longer than is absolutely necessary.



Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham slammed the Scottish Government for imposing a travel ban between parts of the North West and Scotland
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham slammed the Scottish Government for imposing a travel ban between parts of the North West and Scotland

“Placing restrictions on travel between Scotland and parts of north west England was only taken after extremely careful consideration and analysis of data to help prevent the spread of variants of concern.

“Following a careful review of the data we have decided to ease travel arrangements between Scotland and Manchester, Salford and Bolton.

“However, the situation regarding Blackburn and Darwen will need to be closely monitored and will be reviewed again in a week’s time.”

Mr Burnham said: “I had serious concerns about this travel ban and the way it was introduced and I have made these concerns clear over recent days.

“I am grateful to the First Minister and to the Scottish Government for listening and for the decision they have announced today to lift the travel ban on Bolton, Manchester and Salford.”



Nicola Sturgeon was embroiled in a war of words with Andy Burnham over the travel ban
Nicola Sturgeon was embroiled in a war of words with Andy Burnham over the travel ban

It comes after Mr Burnham accused First Minister Nicola Sturgeon of “hypocrisy” after she pinpointed Covid hotspots in the North West despite similar case rates north of the border.

He said his administration had not been contacted by Ms Sturgeon prior to the announcement of the “completely disproportionate” ban.

Ms Sturgeon hit back, accusing him of playing politics over the issue.

She said: “I’ve always gotten on well with Andy Burnham and if he wants a grown-up conversation all he has to do is to pick up the phone.

“But if, as I suspect maybe the case, this is more of a generating a spat with me as part of some positioning in a Labour leadership contest of the future, then I’m not interested.”

Meanwhile, Ms Sturgeon said a spike in coronavirus cases in Scotland may have passed its peak.

The First Minister told a Covid-19 briefing that early data suggests cases may soon begin to fall.

She said: “When we look at cases over the past week by the date the specimen was taken, as opposed to the date on which we report the test result, which are the numbers we report on a daily basis, then what we see is a peak in cases last Tuesday, and since then we have seen what appears to be a slowing down of the rate of increase.”

Ms Sturgeon said it appeared that the vaccine programme had broken the link between case numbers and serious illness but she urged Scots to “keep the heid” and exercise caution and common sense.





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