Tributes have been paid to Peter Mossman who campaigned tirelessly to get justice for victims of a NHS treatment disaster which led to the deaths of thousands of people.
Mr Mossman, from Baguley, Wythenshawe was one of about 7,500 patients, who had been given blood transfusions infected with contaminated blood products. He died last month, aged 78.
The scandal, in which victims contracted hepatitis and HIV as a result of the contamination, was described as the worst treatment disaster in the history of the NHS. A public inquiry into the scandal was set up by the government.
Mr Mossman was treated with contaminated blood and infected with hepatitis C in 1985 after discovering bruising on his leg. Immediately afterwards he became desperately ill and later suffered worsening bleeds and severe liver damage.
The trade union, UNITE, staged a day of action yesterday at Manchester Airport in support of the hard-hit travel industry.
The union is calling for tailored support for the industry brought to its knees by the Covid 19 pandemic and is demanding greater transparency in the government’s traffic lights travel restriction scheme.
Unite also wants the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme to be extended for the aviation sector beyond the current cut-off date of September, while government restrictions are preventing travel, to protect jobs, routes and airports and to ensure that the UK still has a viable industry when travel can safely return to normality.
Unite members and their supporters also took part, with other unions and the TUC, in a lobby of parliament organised by trade association Airlines UK, and the travel industry.
The protest was backed by Wythenshawe MP Mike Kane, Labour’s spokesperson for aviation. He said: “1.6 million jobs depend on the UK’s aviation sector which contributes £22 billion to the UK economy. This is why I am supporting #traveldayofaction.”
Unite assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “It is totally unprecedented for all areas of the aviation sector and the travel industry to come together with a joint call of action for the government.
“Hopes of a gradual recovery in the aviation sector have been placed in the deep freeze as a direct result of government policies. Therefore the government has a moral duty to act and act swiftly.
“Aviation is essential to the long-term success of the UK’s economy, and to keeping people connected. If a meaningful, sustainable and resilient industry is going to be in place when travel can return, then the government must provide immediate support for the workers who will make this happen.”
Wythenshawe Forum is now powered by solar electricity, with the installation of a new photovoltaic array on the building’s roof completed.
New carbon-saving features for the popular community hub are set to reduce emissions by 121 tonnes per year, while also saving more than £50,000 in energy costs annually.
To complement the solar array, 1,386 of the Forum’s light fittings are being upgraded to LED, reducing their energy consumption by 70 per cent, with a new and more efficient lighting control system also installed.
The upgrade is part of a £25m project by Manchester City Council to reduce carbon emissions across the City, which is seeing retrofitting work carried out across its buildings working towards achieving its zero-carbon goal by 2038 at the latest.
The £10m first phase of the council’s programme, to retrofit its highest emission buildings, is drawing to a close and will achieve an emissions cut of 1,600 tonnes a year. New solar installations are underway at Moss Side Leisure Centre, Hough End Leisure Centre, East Manchester Leisure Centre, Arcadia Library & Leisure Centre, the Manchester Tennis & Football Centre, Belle Vue Leisure Centre, the Space Project and the Sharp Project.
Work to enable a £15m second phase of the programme, which will reduce emissions by a further 3,000 tonnes a year, is now progressing.
Since 2009/10, the Council has already reduced its annual direct carbon emissions by more than 50 per cent. In March 2020, it agreed a landmark Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25, setting out an ambitious target to halve its emissions again in the space of just five years – from around 32,000 tonnes a year to around 16,000 tonnes a year.
Executive Member for the Environment, Planning and Transport, Councillor Angeliki Stogia, said: “This project to modernise the energy supply for Wythenshawe Forum is a great example of the work which is happening right across the city to cut carbon emissions from the Council’s buildings as quickly as possible.
“Wythenshawe Forum’s solar power installation will help to reduce the Council’s direct carbon emissions, as part of our radical proposals to rebuild a greener Manchester in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Having declared a climate emergency, we’re committed to doing everything within our power to rapidly reduce the Council’s carbon emissions, in line with science-based targets which comply with the Paris Agreement.”
Eddie Flanagan, chief executive of Wythenshawe Forum Trust said: “As one of Manchester’s largest public buildings and a busy community hub, it’s essential that we support and contribute to the city’s carbon reduction targets. This has been a complex project, affecting almost all of the Forum and has needed buy-in from all of our stakeholders. We are looking forward to the new equipment and technology coming online this year, which will bring significant reductions in carbon emissions and energy costs.”
Rashford had won widespread support for his open letter to MPs, which made an impassioned plea to extend the food voucher scheme. He recalled his own hardship growing up in Wythenshawe and the sacrifices made by his mother to put food on the table.
Although the school meals scheme had already been extended to cover the Easter holidays, government ministers had repeatedly declared they would not be extending the scheme to cover the summer break.
But Rashford said he was not giving up his campaign and attracted cross party backing including a number of Tory MPs.
And hours before Labour was due to present a motion in parliament calling for the government to bow to public pressure, Prime Minister, Boris Johnson’s official spokesperson announced the scheme would be given extra funding to cover the summer holidays.
The spokesperson said: “Owing to the coronavirus pandemic, the prime minister fully understands that children and parents face and entirely unprecedented situation over the summer.
“To reflect this we will be providing food vouchers over the six week summer holiday period. This is a specific measure to reflect the unique circumstances of the pandemic. The scheme will not continue beyond the summer.”
Rashford’s victory has been praised by sports groups and food poverty campaigners across Wythenshawe.