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“We don’t forget here”: Andy Burnham comments on Sacha Lord’s billboard shaming the Conservative Party

Whilst Manchester rolled out the red carpet for the Conservative Party Conference, Sacha Lord had other ideas.

Instead of extending a warm reception to the Conservative Leader, he chose to make a bold statement by featuring Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, adorned with red eyes, and plastered his face on the biggest billboard in Manchester.

Conveniently, it’s also right around the corner from Manchester Convention Complex Centre, where the party conference is taking place, as a constant reminder to attendees from the Parklife and Warehouse Project boss.

The billboard depicts a smiling Sunak, red eyes and the phrase ‘I ignored 3.8 million self-employed because they didn’t vote Tory’.

It was Lord’s way of voicing his concerns about the treatment of self-employed and freelance workers by the Conservative Party during the pandemic.

The Night Time Economy advisor for Greater Manchester has long campaigned during COVID for hospitality staff and bosses to receive fairer treatment.

He was a constant advocate for the 22:00 curfew, the closure of indoor hospitality venues and seeking a fair wage policy for nighttime hospitality staff.

Lord continues to voice the hardships that the hospitality sector experienced at the hands of the Conservative Government, with self-employed and freelance staff at the forefront of his mind.

GigPig was in conversation with the Greater Manchester Mayor, Andy Burnham, to discuss the hardships staff had endured during the pandemic.

Burnham said: “I think it is really important that we don’t move on from the pandemic and think that was a bad dream, as there are people still struggling.

“Freelancers and self-employed people have still not recovered financially. “I struggle with policies, it’s like with HS2, you can’t cut out the North.

“How can we just cut out people who have chosen to work freelance or are self-employed? “I still think it's a point that shouldn't be forgotten.

“We spoke up for that group a lot in that period because they’re a big part of our city, and a lot of people were on a freelance basis here.

“What message does that say? It doesn’t encourage people to be risk-taking in the future when there is an international crisis they are just cut off and left out in the wilderness.

“Sacha has done a fantastic job speaking up for the nighttime economy, speaking for our cultural and creative sector, and we don't forget here.

“We always speak up for people who deserve support and Sacha has done that extremely effectively, and we are very grateful to him.”

Credit: Sacha Lord

Large digital vans will also be frequently circling the convention centre displaying the video.

In the video, Lord said: “I’ve taken out the largest digital screen in the city centre, which is directly above the Tory conference, for the entire duration of the conference.

“During the pandemic, we witnessed the complete and utter decimation of the events industry. Freelancers are left with no financial support whatsoever.

“I witnessed families break up, marriages dissolve, and houses repossessed. I also know two people who took their own lives.

“They simply could not live riddled with so much debt.

“There were in total 3.8 million self-employed people who were left to fend for themselves, and at the time none of us could work out, why is the Chancellor doing this?

“And we now know the reason why he left 3.8 million people out to dry. “The reason being, he didn’t believe they would vote Conservative.

“He put politics before lives.

“So if you were one of those people who were excluded and had your life ruined, this is for you.

“This must never, ever happen again. It’s a disgrace, and we should never forget the injustice that these people suffered.”

The billboard campaign is a poignant reminder of the challenges faced by self-employed and freelance workers during the pandemic.

It voices the struggles of those who endured financial hardship and ensures they do not go unheard.