Matt Hancock has said a £60m offer to help Greater Manchester deal with the toughest Covid restrictions still “remains on the table”.
The Health Secretary said the area will get €24.5m (£22m) to help enforce the “tier three” rules that begin in the area on Friday. Mr Hancock said the “door is open” to more talks on a €67.2m (£60m) package to support businesses and employees, however, local leaders are asking for at least €72m (£65m).
Labour mayor Andy Burnham said his constituents in Manchester faced “a winter of real hardship.” The 2.8 million people in Greater Manchester are the first to be forced into tier three, England’s highest level, against the wishes of local leaders. Mr Hancock said “the deal on the table that the mayor of Greater Manchester walked away from” – which was €67.2m (£60m) – was “a fair deal”.
After spending time on the phone with Boris Johnson, Mr Burnham claimed the offer was too low, saying: “I don’t think it is right to ask people to go into a lockdown without supporting them through all of that.”
Altogether, six Tory MPs have written to Mr Burnham accusing him of putting his “ego” above the people of Greater Manchester. All the MP’s suggested the mayor should not be involved in future talks with the government. Meanwhile, negotiations will continue on Wednesday over whether South Yorkshire will be next to move into the tier three restrictions.
Under tier three, pubs and bars which do not serve substantial meals have to close, and there are further restrictions on households mixing.
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