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Boris Johnson Has Confirmed Greater Manchester Will Move To Tier 3

Boris Johnson announced the measures will come into force from Friday

4 min read

Boris Johnson has confirmed Greater Manchester will enter Tier 3 restrictions later this week after discussions with local leaders ended without an agreement.

The Prime Minister announced the region would move into the "very high" tier of lockdown restrictions from Friday with the government providing a further £22m in financial support. The Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, would later say that an offer of further funding remained "on the table".

The announcement was met with fury from opposition MPs, with shadow foreign secretary Lisa Nandy saying the Prime Minister's plan was "immoral".

"In ten years in Parliament I’ve never seen anything like this," she tweeted.

"MPs are on a call with the Health Secretary being told Greater Manchester is getting only £22m while our Mayor is at a press conference being told by the media. This is bad faith, it’s immoral - just disgraceful."

It comes after Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said the government had "walked away" from discussions after refusing to accept his demand for £65m in extra cash to support businesses and workers impacted by the lockdown.

The Labour mayor said civic leaders had initially asked for a £75m financial package, before dropping it, but that ministers were only willing to offer £60m before ending talks.

The announcement will mean pubs and bars in the region will shut unless they serve "substantial meals", with betting shops, casinos and soft play areas also likely to be forced to close.

People from different households will also be banned from mixing indoors, including in hospitality venues, as well as in private gardens.

The decision to impose the restrictions without the support of local leaders comes after eight days of talks between the two sides.

Mr Burnham, who was only informed of the £22m sum during a press conference this afternoon, said the decision was "brutal".

"This is no way to run the country in a national crisis," he said. "This is not right, they should not be doing this."

"Grinding people down, trying to accept the least the can get away with. £22m to fight the situation we are in is frankly disgraceful."

Announcing the move, Mr Johnson said he "regretted" the failure to find a deal with local leaders.

"Over the last 10 days, we have sought to agree an approach with local leaders in Greater Manchester. Unfortunately, agreement wasn’t been reached", he said.
"And I do regret this. As I said last week, we would have a better chance of defeating the virus if we work together.
"In addition I must say, to the support outlined above, we made a generous and extensive offer to support Manchester’s businesses. This offer was proportionate to the support we have given Merseyside and Lancashire, but the Mayor didn’t accept this unfortunately.
"And given the public health situation, I must now proceed with moving Greater Manchester, as I say, to the Very High alert level.
"Because not to act would put Manchester’s NHS, and the lives of many of Manchester’s residents, at risk."

Questioned on why he had chosen to drop the initial £60m offer to just £22m, Mr Johnson said the funds came alongside a wider £190bn fund to aid local authorities through additional lockdowns but to offer extra funds would have put it "out of kilter" with deals struck in other areas.

"I bitterly regret any restrictions that lead to damage to businesses and to people's lives. Of course I do," he said.

"Nobody wants to be putting people in Greater Manchester or anywhere, through the experience that they've been through, and frankly Andy Burnham is right in what he says about the length of the endurance that Greater Manchester has shown.

"And I've simply got to to look at the the data, alas, the number of deaths, the hospital admissions and we have to act. And of course, the package that I described, the £22 million that I described, that is additional to other support.

He added: "Don't forget... that this is a government that has put £190bn already in supporting businesses and jobs and livelihoods across the across the country.

"We are investing huge sums to support local authorities... As I said in Greater Manchester they will have access to all kinds of funds, particularly to help with testing and and tracing."

Labour's Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said: "It's an utter disgrace that businesses and workers in GM won’t get an extra penny from government to support them in Tier 3.
Andy is right: it’s utter spite.

"The idea of all in this together has been totally shattered this week."

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