Boris Johnson is said to be ‘on the verge’ of ordering a Tier 3 lockdown in Manchester after talks between the Mayor and government officials failed to yield a solution last week.
Andy Burnham believes “most places will find themselves in Tier 3 at some point before a vaccine is found” – which is why he’s demanding improved support for these areas as winter looms.
The government is hoping to agree a financial package with Greater Manchester during the next 48 hours – which would result in the region being moved to the ‘very high’ risk category where pubs, bars and bookies are closed.
Local leaders are continuing to hold out for a “fair” deal – claiming this is “not just a Greater Manchester issue”.
Speaking to Andrew Marr on Sunday (18 October), Burnham said the pushback wasn’t about politics or money, but about wellbeing.
“It’s about people’s health and what’s right for them,” said the Mayor.
“What I would say to the government is that ‘let’s come together and agree a package of support that helps people through this’.
“A punishing lockdown without support – trapping places in Tier 3 all winter – I think will cause real harm to people’s health in the broadest possible sense.”
Burnham has written a letter to the government asking for an 80% furlough scheme for all affected workers – including the self-employed.
The Mayor has since had a call with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s chief strategic adviser, which was described as “constructive”.
Talks are set to continue today, with speculation rife as to what type of deal the government will put on the table.
The Telegraph is reporting that the PM could offer Greater Manchester to £100 million in order to settle the debate.
However, other sources have suggested that this may not include the 80% furlough scheme which has been the cornerstone of the region’s resistance so far.
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick told Sky News that the government was looking to finalise terms on Monday (19 October) or Tuesday (20 October).
Boris Johnson had previously warned that if a deal was not agreed, he would have to “intervene“.