Talks with the Government about extra financial support have been unsuccessful

The Prime Minister has confirmed that the Greater Manchester region is to enter tier three, the highest Covid alert level, at midnight on Thursday. The stricter restrictions mean that pubs and bars must close unless they operate as a restaurant serving full meals, with alcohol allowed only as part of such a meal.

We’ve faced so many challenges in the past, but we’ll get through this by looking after each other

People must also not meet anybody outside their household or support bubble in any indoor or outdoor setting, whether at home or in a public space. 

They should also try to avoid travelling outside the ‘very high’ area they are in, or entering a ‘very high’ area, other than for things like work, education, accessing youth services, to meet caring responsibilities.

The aim is to try and reduce the R-rate and take the pressure off the NHS.

2020 10 21 Burnham Leese Press Conference
Burnham and Leese reacting to the news about Greater Manchester's Tier 3 status BBC news

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, Leader of the City Council Sir Richard Leese, regional MPs and their teams have spent the last few days in negotiations with the Government trying to agree a corresponding financial support package to help those that will be most affected by the latest restrictions.  

They asked for £75 million to compensate for the 80% furlough scheme, which ends at the end of October. The Government offered Greater Manchester £60 million in line with corresponding agreements with other high-risk counties in the north, but Burnham wouldn’t back down, arguing that it wouldn’t be enough to support the region’s lowest paid workers. In the end, Greater Manchester was allocated £22 million in business support to get us through the next few months. 

2020 10 21 Government Covid Figures Greater Manchester
The Government's Covid figures for Greater Manchester

“I am deeply sorry to have had to put these measures in place,” the Prime Minister said in the daily briefing. “Not to act would put Manchester’s NHS and the lives of its residents at risk. We made a generous offer proportionate to the offer we’ve given to Lancashire and Liverpool. I have to look at the data and I have to act." 

Boris Johnson reiterated that £190 billion is being invested to support local authorities all over the UK and Greater Manchester will have access to those funds on top of the £22 million. 

After today’s negotiations with the Government, Burnham gave an impassioned press conference arguing that the money offered by the Government would not be enough to help those such as zero hours contract staff, taxi drivers, servers, freelancers and the self employed.

2018 45 Boris Johnson
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said he is deeply sorry to have had to put these measures into place for Greater Manchester

Andy Burnham ended his press conference by saying that although they didn’t get the financial support they wanted from the Government, he urged the residents of Greater Manchester to adhere to the tighter restrictions, keep each other safe and help implement the measures to bring the R rate down.

“We’ve stood up for you, but we need your help to follow the advice,” said Burnham. “We’ve faced so many challenges in the past, but we’ll get through this by looking after each other and doing what’s right.”

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