Boris Johnson confirms Greater Manchester will move into Tier 3 restrictions
Greater Manchester will be moved into Tier 3 of coronavirus restrictions from midnight on Friday 23 October.
A midday deadline had been put in place for local leaders and the government to come to an agreement over the next steps following calls for extra funding for businesses and workers in the region if they suffer due to a new lockdown.
However, an agreement was not reached.
During a Downing Street press conference, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced: "This evening, informed by the data we’ve seen, Greater Manchester will move to the very high alert level."
Reiterating the restrictions that apply in Tier 3 - which includes a ban on social mixing indoors and in private gardens and the closure of pubs, bars (unless they are serving substantial meals) and gyms - Mr Johnson added: "We strongly advise against travel into and out of the area."
Referring to the £65 million package local leaders wanted, Mr Johnson briefly outlined the financial package that he was offering, including £22 million to Greater Manchester for test and trace.
The Prime Minister added that the region would have access to “all kinds of funds” to support it through the restrictions.
“We are investing huge sums to support local authorities. The funds there are massive. What we couldn’t do is do a deal with Greater Manchester that was out of kilter with the agreements we had already reached with Merseyside and with Lancashire," he said.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham held a news briefing before the Downing Street press conference where he explained that £65 million was the minimum sum needed to prevent a “winter of real hardship” under Tier 3 restrictions but the Government refused to accept this and walked away from negotiations.
“In summary, at no point today were we offered enough to protect the poorest people in our communities through the punishing reality of the winter to come. Even now I am still willing to do a deal but it cannot be on the terms that the Government offered today," Mr Burnham added.
Mr Burnham appeared on Good Morning Britain this morning where he told Kate Garraway and Ranvir Singh that the health of the residents in Greater Manchester is his first priority when asked if he was gambling with lives by delaying further restrictions.
Stating that he was "taking a stand" for people who will be heavily impacted if Greater Manchester goes into Tier 3, Mr Burnham said: "People who work behind bars or drive taxis, these are often the people that Westminster politicians forget. We’re not going to do that, we are taking a stand for them. If the government is going to place further restrictions on us, they will face certain harm from that, absolutely no question about it. It’s not posturing to provide a voice for people at this particular point in time.”
He added: “Health is about more than controlling the virus. If we are not careful, if we trap places in punishing lockdowns through the winter, we will have a mental health crisis on top of a pandemic to deal with.”