Manchester must strike Tier 3 deal by midday tomorrow or be forced into lockdown

BORIS Johnson has given leaders in the North until midday tomorrow or he will FORCE Greater Manchester into a Tier 3 lockdown.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick delivered the dramatic ultimatum after tense talks between the warring signs again ended in deadlock.

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Labour Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has refused to sign up to the Tier 3 measures without more cash for furloughed workers.

But Downing Street warned the region's hospitals will be overwhelmed by a Covid surge in less than a month unless the draconian restrictions are imposed.

In a blistering intervention late last night, Mr Jenrick told Manchester they have run out of time.

He said: “The deteriorating public health situation in Greater Manchester means that we need to take action urgently.”

The deteriorating public health situation in Greater Manchester means that we need to take action urgently.

He added: “There are now more Covid-19 patients in Greater Manchester Hospitals than in the whole of the South West and South East combined.

“But, unfortunately, despite recognising the gravity of the situation, local leaders have been so far unwilling  to take the action that is required to get this situation under control.

“I have written to local leaders this evening to make clear that if we cannot reach agreement by midday tomorrow then I must advise the Prime Minister that despite our best endeavours we’ve been unable to reach agreement.

“It’s not too late for local leaders to work with us to take action for the sake of the people of Greater Manchester.”

CLOCK'S TICKING

He tore into the stubborn Manchester bosses for refusing to follow the example of Lancashire and Liverpool in signing up to the tough lockdown.

A generous bailout package to help businesses hammered by the lockdown had been irresponsibly shunned by the region, he said.

He said: “We have held discussions in good faith with local leaders for ten days in order to ensure that the measures put in place were tailored to the local community.

“We have offered an extensive package of support for local people and businesses, proportionate to the approach we have taken in the Liverpool City Region and Lancashire and in addition to the wider national support.”

 

 

No10 had warned that Manchester’s intensive care beds – including the extra surge capacity – would be overwhelmed by November 12 unless drastic action is taken.

While Greater Manchester’s second Covid peak will be bigger than the first wave’s peak by November 2, Downing Street forecasters have predicted.

Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick said 10 days of discussions in "good faith" have not resulted in an agreement.

When asked if this means No10 will impose a lockdown on the region, he replied: "That's a matter for the PM to decide."

Mr Johnson has been locked in a bitter battle with Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham who has refused to accept his Covid-19 clampdown without greater financial support.

Earlier this evening, the Labour mayor said: "We went into today's meeting with the government with a positive and unanimous view amongst Greater Manchester leaders that we should seek a resolution as soon as possible.

"We had been encouraged by earlier discussions at an official level where the idea of a Hardship Fund, to top up furlough payments and support the self-employed, had been tabled by the government.

"It was both surprising and disappointing when this idea was taken off the table by the Secretary of State."


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