Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has addressed the people of the region this afternoon ahead of imminent Tier 3 restrictions set to be imposed.
Mr Burnham has attacked the government for refusing to offer an extra £5 million in support to help the region through Tier 3 coronavirus restrictions. He said the government “walked away” from negotiations about financial support, after refusing to offer enough money to “prevent a winter of real hardship” for the people of Greater Manchester.
Political leaders in the region had estimated that £65 million was the “bare minimum” needed to get to the end of the financial year, however Mr Burnham said the government “refused to accept this”.
He said: “That is what we believe we needed to prevent poverty, to prevent hardship, to prevent homelessness.
“Those were the figures that we had – not what we wanted – but what we needed to prevent all of those things from happening.
“But the government refused to accept this and at 2pm today they walked away from negotiations.
“In summary, at no point today were we offered enough to protect the poorest people in our communities through the punishing reality of the winter to come.
The mayor said he is “still willing to do a deal”, but it “cannot be on the terms that the government offered today”.
Burnham added: “I don’t think it is right to ask people to go into a lockdown, to accept further changes within their lives, without supporting them through all of that. How can we carry the public with us through this pandemic if we are forcing them to lose their income, their place of work, without supporting them through that?”
He then went on to call on Parliament to “intervene and make a judgement” on a fair financial framework for Tier 3 lockdowns and added how every part of the country should be concerned by the lack of support offered to areas put under tightened restrictions.
Closing out his speech speaking directly to the people of Greater Manchester, Mr Burnham said: “We took this stand for you. We will carry on fighting for you. We will carry on putting your health first, but health is more than the virus.
“We will support people’s health in the broadest possible sense.
“So tough days lay ahead [but] please, everybody, observe the law at all times and follow the public health advice.
“Above all else, please look out for each other, as I know you will.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to hold a press conference due to commence at 5pm today.