Moment fuming Andy Burnham finds out Manchester is being plunged into Tier 3 lockdown 'with just £22m'
THIS is the moment a fuming Andy Burnham discovered Manchester was being plunged into a tier three lockdown after days of deadlock.
The news cameras filmed the moment the Greater Manchester mayor found out that the area was heading into tougher restrictions with just £22million-worth in support.
⚠️ Read our coronavirus live blog for the latest news & updates
It came after a deal for tier three measures collapsed when he apparently refused to accept £60million offered by the Government because he wanted an extra £5million.
Health Secretary said Greater Manchester has been given £22million for testing and contact tracing and that the offer of £60million for business support is still on the table if Mr Burnham "picks up the phone".
The mayor's expression changed to one of fury as he was was shown a text which revealed the strict new measures would come into force at 0.01am on Friday.
Mr Burnham has waged a bitter fight with the Government over how much the area should receive in financial support if it were to accept further restrictions.
But today, he lost the battle – and only made the discovery when he was shown it on a mobile phone by a colleague.
It comes as:
- Jonathan Van Tam said a national lockdown "at the moment" wouldn't be right for parts of the country with lower levels of infection
- But he warned "we may have to push down on the peddle a little harder to get it under control" in future
- The latest Covid graphs showed how infection rates are FALLING in more areas across England than it was at start of October
- Bars and pubs in Manchester will have to shut unless they serve food, and casinos, betting shops and soft play areas will also close
- Talks over entering the top bracket are also ongoing with South Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and West Yorkshire – but nothing more is imminent
- One leader in the North East told Boris that he could "sod off" if he wanted to put Hartlepool in Tier 3
- Mr Burnham warned that Tier 3 would affect most of the country over the winter to come
- There have been a further 21,330 lab-confirmed cases of coronavirus in the UK today
Mr Burnham was giving a press conference when he discovered Manchester would be plunged into tier three restrictions after more thana week of haggling over a deal.
He has argued the cash was needed to support businesses faced with closure under tier three – including pubs, bars, bookies and soft play centres.
But Boris Johnson wouldn't step up from his offer of £60m – and now the area has returned to a starting point of just £22m.
The amount covers contact tracing and help enforcing new rules.
It has emerged tonight, however, that the Government is still keeping its offer on the table – but says Mr Burnham must engage in talks again first.
The mayor made the discovery that the region will be hit by new measures when he was shown a phone by Manchester City Council leader Sir Richard Leese.
Sir Richard had been sent a message which confirmed further information about the decision taken by Downing Street – and said the region would get '£20m only'.
Mr Burnham looked shocked and furious as he read the message.
Members of the public who had gathered to hear him speak began to boo, and some cried "disgraceful".
"It's brutal to be honest, isn't it?" Mr Burnham said.
"This is no way to run the country in a national crisis.
"This is not right. They should not be doing this.
"Grinding people down trying to accept the least they can get away with.
"£22m to fight the situation that we are in is frankly disgraceful."
Minutes later, Boris Johnson appeared for a press conference of his own in Downing Street, flanked by medical advisers.
He initially appeared to withdraw the £60m that had been on the table – saying the region will now get just £22m plus access to additional national support.
However, No10 later confirmed that the full £60m was on the cards in a take it or leave it deal – but Mr Burnham must come to the table to get it.
In a Commons statement Health Secretary Matt Hancock urged Mr Burnham to "pick up the phone".
He said: "Of course, we do not want businesses in Greater Manchester to be disadvantaged so that offer remains on the table.
"Our door is open to further discussions with local leaders in the coming days about business support."
Mr Burnham immediately spoke of his anger after reading the message.
"Is this a game of poker with people's lives?" he asked.
"Are the Government trying to put pressure on people to take as little as they can possibly get away with?"
Despite failing in his bid, Mr Burnham pleaded with residents in Greater Manchester to follow the tougher measures.
Speaking directly to the 2.8 million people in the region, he promised to “carry on fighting for you, we will carry on putting your health first."
Government sources said the Mayor's "pride" had got in the way of an agreement.
One Whitehall insider told The Sun: “We offered a very comprehensive package that was in line with what was offered in Liverpool and Lancashire.
“It was the mayor’s pride that got in the way of a deal.
"It was the Mayor’s personal inflexibility that got in the way.”
Manchester and the North West saw 92 Covid deaths today, more than double any other region in the UK.
Source: Read Full Article