THE Leader of Bolton Council has criticised the government for their latest financial support package.

Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show this morning, Cllr David Greenhalgh said that he was "against" the latest support package and that the local economy couldn't be thrown to the wolves.

He said: "We are against a lockdown, as we understand it, a tier three which is the complete lockdown of hospitality. Should we feel we need to move to extra restrictions, we need one that protects the most vulnerable and susceptible to the virus, but one that does not continue to have an averse affect on local businesses and our economy.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new support package earlier this week, with Mayors of several northern city regions criticising the move in an open letter.

Cllr Greenhalgh said that the new furlough scheme, which will see people provided with two thirds of their wages, "wasn't good enough" and should return to the 80% wage scheme of March.

He said: " I realise the government is in a very difficult position and of course we welcome any pack that is brought together that helps our businesses but business in Bolton have already been closed for three months in hospitality lockdown .

"We've lost many jobs already and many of these businesses are already on on the brink. The idea that this money is only payable from the the beginning of November and it could come through as late as early November or early December is just not good enough.

"I have called and made very public demands that at the very least these packages return to the furlough of the March lockdown. Anything less is quite frankly unacceptable and many of these businesses will sadly go under and we cant build back better if we have lost some of these businesses."

He added that he was "urging" the government to listen again to avoid the loss of jobs and businesses. Acknowledging the high infection rates, he said that they weren't underestimating the scale of the issue.

He said: "The North feels like they are being treated di"fferently. We have to find a way through this that, as I've said before, looks after the economy. We cannot throw our local economy to the wolves to kill it in the north. They cant continue with no exit package.

"The package needs to at the very least return to the lockdown arrangements of furlough at the beginning of March. Why should the North be treated any different to the rest of the country?"