Covid: Why Manchester coronavirus deal collapsed over £5m

Credit: PA

Who was wrong not to close a deal over a gap of £5m - Boris Johnson or Andy Burnham?

The Treasury signed off a £55 million package to support businesses and employees hurt by the Tier 3 closures. Burnham said he would accept £65 million.

The PM personally offered Burnham a compromise of £60 million on the basis it would not undermine support he had given to Lancashire and Liverpool.

Burnham argued he had already compromised. Talks collapsed.

Downing Street tells me what matters now is imposing the Tier 3 restrictions - and insists it will take steps to limit the hurt to businesses and employees who can no longer work.

But it won't say the £60 million package is still there.

In the meantime, most of the rest of the country probably cannot understand why central and local governments cannot agree on a decision about saving lives because of £5 million, which is less than a drop in the ocean of the £200 billion already committed by government to the coronavirus crisis.

I fear the impression will be created of chaos at a time when what's needed is solidarity.