Covid: Mayor Andy Burnham argues there’s a ‘clear case’ for Manchester to exit Tier 3

  • Video report by ITV News Political Correspondent Daniel Hewitt

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham has said there is a “clear case” for the region being eased into Tier 2 as ministers formally review the coronavirus restrictions across England.

More than 34 million people, or 61% of England’s population, were living under the strictest measures after London and parts of Essex and Hertfordshire moved into Tier 3.

On Wednesday, a Government committee was to review how appropriate the tiers are for each area, with a formal announcement billed for the following day.

Mr Burnham argued ahead of the review that Greater Manchester should exit the most stringent restrictions, which would allow pubs and restaurants some freedom to reopen, but said he would understand if the Government took a more cautious approach.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham hopes there's a case for Tier 2 in the city. Credit: PA

He said there have been “steady decreases” across all of the region’s 10 boroughs and its average rate is around 150 cases per 100,000. This is below the England-wide average of 194.

“We are below London and below Liverpool when they went into Tier 2 originally,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

“I accept the national mood has changed since those decisions were taken and I can also understand if the Government were wanting to err on the side of caution.

“There is a clear case for Greater Manchester, or a large part of Greater Manchester, to be placed in Tier 2.”

What can you do in each tier from December 2? The new rules in England at a glance:

  • Tier 1: Up to six people can meet indoors or outdoors. Pubs and restaurants can open, with last orders at 10pm and closing at 11pm.

  • Tier 2: No mixing indoors, apart from support bubbles. Up to six people can meet outdoors. Pubs and restaurants can open, with last orders at 10pm and closing at 11pm - but alcohol can only be served with a substantial meal.

  • Tier 3: No mixing indoors. People can only meet outdoors in limited places such as parks and public gardens. Pubs and restaurants must close, with the exception of takeaway sales.

In all tiers, non-essential shops, gyms, hairdressers and personal care services can open. People in all tiers to work from home where they can do so. Full details on what you can do in each tier here.

Tier 3 was imposed on Manchester on October 23 after Mr Burnham and local politicians including a number of Conservatives fought to oppose the restrictions.

They argued that firms and individuals needed greater financial support to survive the shutdown but Prime Minister Boris Johnson eventually pushed ahead without local consent.

Speaking at an online press conference on Wednesday, Mr Burnham said he had not had any conversations with the Government ahead of the decision.

He said: “Our boroughs have given indications to the Government, so those have gone in.

“There is no indication yet coming out of the Government.”

'Lockdown 2' graffiti on the streets of Manchester. Credit: PA

Mr Burnham said it was possible different boroughs within Greater Manchester could have different levels of restrictions.

He added: “If the Government does not want to put Greater Manchester as a whole in Tier 2, particularly given the fact a couple of our boroughs are above the national average or close to it, we do still believe there is a very strong case for a substantial part of the city region to be placed in Tier 2.

“We would ask the Government to give regard to the fact we have been under restrictions for four-and-a-half months, that would mean five months by the next review period.”